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" It is the Ideal which endures, and is ; and the 
Material, which seems to be, is but fleeting, and 
perishes." — Renan. 

New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street. 

1884. * 


James and Lucretia Mott, from a daguerreotype by Langen- 

"The Old House" at Cowneck, Long Island, built by "the 

Younger Son Adam,''' about 1715 1 

Home of Lucretia Mott's Childhood, built by Thomas Coffin 

in 1796 18 

Lucretia Mott, from a painting by J. Kyle in 1841 . . . 185 
"Roadside," near Philadelphia, the country home of James 

and Lucretia Mott after 1857 364 

James Mott, from a photograph by Gutekunst, in 1863 . . . 428 

Lucretia Mott, from a photograph by GuteJcunst, in 1875 . . 445 

'The Old House" at Cowneck. 


James Mott, the eldest child of Adam and Anne 
Mott, was born on the 29th of Sixth month, 1788, 
at Cowneck, — the name then given to the north- 
east part of North Hempstead, on Long Island, — at 
the house of his father's father, Adam Mott, Sr. 
Adam was an hereditary name of the Motts for 
many generations. The ample farm was also the 
home of the family. The ancient, low-beamed, two- 
story, shingled house, facing south over its own fields 
and lane, a mile from any highway, had been built 
by his father's grandfather — the Adam Mott of his 
day — in about 1715. A rural group of barns and 
sheds and granaries had grown up adjacent to it on 
the west, and a hundred yards behind the house 
the shore of the Sound sets southeasterly towards 
the deep indentation of Hempstead harbor ; while 
across the wide stretch of water, the eye takes in 
the Westchester and the Connecticut shore for thirty 
miles. Here the father of James Mott had been 



" because his needs are less than the others." When 
he married Phebe Willets in 1731, he was nearly 
sixty, almost double her age ; he died seven years 
later, leaving three children. His oldest son Adam, 
who, half a century later, had become the grand- 
father in whose house James Mott was born, was 
then but four years old. Three years later, in 1741, 
the widow married Tristam Dodge, and brought him 
to the old Mott homestead, as the will of her first 
husband permitted, while his children were growing 

Grandmother Dodge had no children after her 
second marriage. She was zealous in her religious 
services, and occasionally traveled as a minister in 
the adjacent Monthly and Quarterly meetings. In 
1744 she visited the " Jersies," and in 1752 made 
an extended religious visit in England and Wales, 
where she was well received. Tristam Dodge died 
in 1760, leaving to his widow, by will, among other 
things, 44 the negro girl Rachel." The holding of 
slaves was then common in New York, and most 
Friends' families on Long Island had one or more. 
But the anti-slavery feeling was awakened, and in 
1776 — - a few months before the American Declara- 
tion of Independence — Grandmother Dodge, by a 
legal instrument, reciting that she had 44 for some 
years been under a concern of mind on account of 
holding negroes in bondage," declared it to be her 
44 duty, as well as a Christian act," to set Eachel at 
liberty. This was among the first of many similar 
manumissions on the records of 44 Westbury Monthly 
Meeting," where Phebe Dodge belonged. A little 
later, her sons, Adam and Stephen Mott, set free 
"the negro man Dick;" and in less than three 



years, in 1778, Elias Hicks set free his "negro man 
named Ben." A few years later the Westbury rec- 
ords bear this entry : — 

" Died, at Cowneck, 7th of Ninth month, 1782, Phebe 
Dodge, aged eighty-three ; a minister in good esteem near 
sixty years, and continued lively in the truth to the last." 

Grandmother Dodge's three children, Elizabeth, 
Adam, and Stephen Mott, married three children of 
Samuel and Mary Willis. Elizabeth married John 
Willis, a minister in the Society of Friends ; Adam, 
the sister, Sarah Willis, who thus became grand- 
mother of James Mott ; and Stephen, her younger 
sister, Amy Willis. The Willis family was one of 
the most notable among Friends on Long Island. 
Samuel Willis' grandfather, Henry Willis, was born 
in Wiltshire, England, in 1628. In 1667, the year 
after the great fire, he went to London to work at 
his trade of a carpenter. But, already one of George 
Fox's adherents, he suffered so much for his faith, 
" in imprisonment, and the abuse of the rude rab- 
ble," that he emigrated to New York about 1670, 
with his wife Mary Peace and their children, and 
soon after settled at Westbury, to which place he 
gave its name. 

Sarah Willis, the grandmother of James Mott, 
inherited the virtues of her Quaker ancestors. She 
died of consumption, in the old Mott house at Cow- 
neck, in 1783, at the age of forty-six. Her husband, 
then Adam Mott, Sr., a few weeks after her death, 
wrote in expression of mutual grief and sympathy, 
to her mother, the venerable widow of Samuel Wil- 
lis. He addresses her, " much regarded mother," 
signing himself her " affectionate but sorrowing son," 



and finds consolation in his grief in recalling the vir- 
tues of his " dear, loving wife," and their twenty- 
eight years of happiness together. 

This was just after the close of the American 
Revolution. During the war, Long Island suffered 
much. Adam Mott, on the east side of Cowneck, 
was twice robbed by whaleboat men ; once of "con- 
siderable clothing." He was also compelled, in com- 
mon with his neighbors, to furnish his quota of fire- 
wood to the British army in New York, and felt the 
evils of war in many ways. But the work of the 
farm was prosecuted with diligence, and at the close 
of the war his eldest son Adam, who was to be James 
Mott's father, had attained the age of twenty years. 

While this Adam Mott was growing up, a young 
man on those ancestral acres at Cowneck, occasion- 
ally as he held the plow on the uplands, he saw with 
growing interest, five or six miles away to the west 
across the Sound, on the Mamaroneck shore, and al- 
most in front of the village of New Rochelle, as it 
lay in the morning sun, the point of land since known 
as Premium Point, where were situated the house 
and mills of James Mott, the grandson of his own 
great uncle, Richbell Motto This James Mott must 
be frequently mentioned in the beginning of this 
memoir, for his only daughter, Anne, was already 
making her father's house attractive to young Adam 
Mott, and she was to be the mother of our James 
Mott. Her father, this elder James Mott, was de- 
scended, on his mother's side, from Captain John 
Underbill, the first commander of the Boston militia 
under Governor Winthrop. As one of the few sol- 
diers among the forefathers of James Mott, he de- 
serves special mention. 



Captain John Underbill, one of those stormy char- 
acters whose religions nature struggles long against 
the fire of human passion, was born in Warwickshire, 
about 1596, and was a soldier for a large part of his 
life. He was an officer in the service of the Low 
Countries, in the long war which finally gained the 
independence of Holland : he was much with the 
Puritan refugees there, and at length came with 
John Winthrop and his nine hundred emigrants to 
Boston, in 1680, under a special agreement to train 
the Boston militia. This was the year in which 
Boston was founded. The General Court ordered 
that the first Thursday of the month should be gen- 
eral training day for Captain Underbill's company. 
George Fox was then but six years old, and Captain 
Underbill did not become a convert to his peace prin- 
ciples till thirty years later. He took an active part 
in the affairs of the young Commonwealth, and was 
elected a member of the General Court. He brought 
with him to Boston his first wife, a Holland lady, 
thus also an ancestor of James Mott ; and the records 
of the Old South Church show that " Helena, wife of 
our brother John Underbill, was received into the 
church, Sept. 15 th 1633." But a few years later, 
Captain Underhill was found not to be orthodox, ac- 
cording to the Boston standard of orthodoxy, and he 
was banished for his misconduct in 1637. He con- 
tinued active, however, in the affairs of the neighbor- 
ing settlements, and took part in most of the Indian 
wars of his time. He was governor of Dover, in 
New Hampshire ; and in 1640 went to New Amster- 
dam on the invitation of the Dutch Government, and 
speaking the language, remained in their confidence 
for many years. In 1643 he led one hundred and 



twenty men in a successful attack upon the Indians 
in Hempstead, and in 1645, was one of the " eight 
men"' in the Dutch administration of Governor 
Kieft. He obtained a grant of land in what is now 
the town of Oyster Bay, to which he gave the name 
of Kenilworth, where he passed the latter years of 
his life, and where he died in 1672. 

It was while living at Kenilworth, and after they 
had all become Friends, that his eldest son, John, 
married in 1668 young Mary Pryor, — not yet sev- 
enteen years of age, — the daughter of neighboring 
Friends, Matthew and Mary Pryor. As one among 
many acts of persecution which Friends of those 
days suffered, it may be mentioned here, that these 
young people, because they had married in accord- 
ance with the custom adopted among Friends, were 
brought before the court, their marriage declared 
void, and fined five pounds ; and "continuing contu- 
macious," were subsequently sent to the Sessions, 
and fined ten pounds for their persistent disobedi- 
ence. In 1676 the same John Underbill was fined 
and punished for refusing " to train in the militia," 
and to "work on the Fort; " but fines for refusing 
militia service, and punishment for not paying such 
fines, were continued down to within the experience 
and memory of many still living. 1 

Space is lacking to speak in detail of another an- 
cestor, the sturdy Hempstead Quaker blacksmith, 
Nathaniel Pearsall, who, twice elected to the Provin- 
cial Assembly, in 1690 and 1691, continued faithful 

i In 1822 or 1823, James Mott (the younger), then living in Philadel- 
phia, was arrested and committed to jail for non-payment of the militia 
fine. The jail was then in Arch Street, just above Broad. After being 
confined there two days, he was set at liberty, the fine having been paid 
by some one unknown to him. 



to the " testimony against oaths," and refusing to be 
sworn in, was not admitted to his seat, although his 
name still stands on the Civil list of the State. 

To return to the elder James Mott. He was born 
in Roslyn, then called the Head of Hempstead Har- 
bor, in 1741 ; lost his father before he was two years 
old ; and was brought up by his mother, and his 
step-father, Richard Alsop. In 1765, in Westbury 
meeting-house, he married Mary Underbill ; went 
into business in New York, and became a prosperous 
merchant, living in what was then the pleasant 
neighborhood of Beekman Street, between Cliff and 
Pearl streets. Here were born his four children: 
Richard, who became an esteemed minister in the 
Society of Friends; Anne, who became the mother 
of our James Mott; and Robert and Samuel. In 
the stormy time before the breaking out of the 
Revolutionary War, the British ship of war Asia 
threatened to fire on the city, and James Mott sent 
his children for safety into the country, near the 
present site of Hester Street. His wife's health fail- 
ing, he retired from business in 1776, and removed to 
Mamaroneck, where he bought of his wife's brother, 
Samuel Underbill, the farm and tide-mill, afterwards 
known as the Premium Mill property, and operated 
the mill for many years. 

The handsome old two-story frame house, with 
ample garret in its double pitched roof, long occu- 
pied by the elder James Mott, still stands in good 
preservation, — facing southerly among its trees, a 
mile above New Rochelle, on the low, narrow penin- 
sula, between the shore of the Sound and the inlet 
which formed the mill-pond, and a few rods from 
the site of the mill which he operated, now long 



since removed. Here his wife, Mary Underbill, 
whom he had married when she was twenty, died at 
the age of thirty-one. Her husband was then but 
thirty-five, but he never married again ; and more 
than forty years after her death, he wrote of her, 
that she was " still so present to his mental view " 
that he desired " to mention some of her traits. Her 
person was tall and erect ; complexion fair, rather 
pale than ruddy ; eyes light blue ; hair dark brown, 
bordering on black : countenance placid and open ; 
manners gentle and easy; her conversation cheerful 
and pleasant; rather diffident of her own abilities; 
temper mild and even, of great self-command. Dis- 
position kind, sympathetic, and benevolent. Indus- 
trious and economical, but not parsimonious. Hum- 
bly pious, without bigotry. Studiously careful to 
promote conjugal harmony and happiness. What an 
invaluable treasure is such a wife ! 99 

She left four children — Anne, then eight years 
old, and her three brothers — to grow up in the dan- 
gers and hardships of the Westchester County shore 
during the Revolutionary War. In after years, Anne 
often told her grandchildren of some of these perils : 
how when a child she had driven the cattle behind 
the hills to conceal them from predatory cow-boys ; 
and how the halter was once around her own neck, 
and she was threatened with hanging if she did not 
tell where was concealed the money received for 
some bags of coffee, which had recently been stored 
in the mill. But she could not tell. Soon after the 
close of the war, in 1785, while still wanting nearly 
three months of completing her seventeenth year, 
she married, in Mamaroneck meeting-house, Adam 
Mott, the younger, of Cowneck, then twenty-three 



years of age. Bridal trips were not then usual 
among Friends, and, instead, Anne Mott went with 
her young husband direct to his father's house, the 
old Mott homestead on the Cowneck shore. Here 
was born James Mott, her second child, the subject 
of this biography, before she was twenty years old. 
The first child, Mary, died in infancy. 

Although still living with his father, the younger 
Adam Mott was at this time in active business in 
the flour-mill recently built for him on the opposite 
side of Cowneck, where the tide was arrested to 
serve human requirements in a little inlet of Cow- 
bay. The mill is still in use, nearly a hundred years 
after it was built ; but the hamlet is now Port Wash- 
ington, and Cow-bay is Manhasset Bay. 

The elder Adam Mott died in the latter part of 
1790, and soon afterward the younger Adam moved 
to his own house near his mill. The hanging of the 
crane was still the practical fact in every new house- 
hold, and with the simple appliances of a hundred 
years ago the young wife ministered to the wants of 
her family, and trained her children to industry ; 
fabrics of flax spun by her daughters' hands are yet 
among the treasures of her great-grandchildren. The 
new mill-house was situated on a farm of sixty acres 
on the mill-pond, and under the new management the 
farm became a model farm, as the mill was already 
a model mill ; and business prospered. The simple, 
frugal, diligent habits of this rural life ; the kindly, 
gentle manners and self-watchfulness inherited from 
many Quaker ancestors, added to much intellectual 
culture and refinement, made a model household. In 
personal appearance Adam Mott was tall, erect, with 
strongly-marked features, and a simple dignity that 



accorded with his rural, laborious, and devout life ; 
and although quiet in manner, and often silent, his 
speech was always sagacious and to the point, and 
frequently gleamed with subtle and kindly humor. 
Anne Mott, with a slight figure, an intellectual face, 
and the grace, refinement, and simplicity of a high- 
bred woman, had unusual mental endowments, and 
a power of conversation which made her welcome in 
any society, and always drew out the best qualities 
of whatever company she met. The young father 
and mother always conformed in dress and manner 
to the strictest rule of Quaker simplicity. They 
were diligent in attendance on all the religious meet- 
ings to which they belonged ; and were clerks of 
their respective meetings, while the young James 
was still in early childhood. The clerk of a business 
meeting of the Society of Friends must have special 
gifts and aptitudes ; for not only is he the presiding 
as well as the recording officer, but he is expected to 
gather or divine the will of the assembly without 
taking a vote. 

Lest another opportunity should not occur, it may 
here be mentioned that Adam Mott died in his sev- 
enty-seventh year, at the residence of his son-in-law, 
Lindley Murray Moore, in Rochester, N. Y., in 1839 ; 
Anne Mott died at the age of eighty-four, at the res- 
idence of her son-in-law, Silas Cornell, in Rochester, 
in 1853. 

There was a little school in the hamlet of Cow- 
bay, where the young James Mott and his sisters 
obtained such of the rudiments of education as they 
had not acquired at home ; but the daily influence 
of their home was an education higher than that of 
any school, to which was added a constant and ele- 



vating intercourse with the family of their grandfa- 
ther, their mother's father, at Mamaroneck. The 
intimacy of his relations with his grandson and 
namesake, James Mott, and subsequently with Lu- 
cretia Mott, until his death in 1823, calls for further 
mention of him. He was a man of much culture 
and high character ; tali, erect, and unusually hand- 
some in person; somewhat diffident, but always dig- 
nified, easy and graceful in manner, and in all re- 
spects a gentleman. He traveled much with Friends 
in their religious visits, and freely used his pen and 
his influence in the advancement of education, and 
in the suppression of intemperance and slavery. He 
would use nothing produced by slave labor, either in 
food or clothing. For this reason he limited his fam- 
ily to maple-sugar ; always wore linen, and his cloth 
was of domestic manufacture, gray or drab in color, 
and made in small-clothes or knee-breeches ; occa- 
sionally, in stormy weather, he wore white-topped 
boots, and always a broad-brimmed white hat. 

Notwithstanding his staunch Quakerism, he was 
liberal in his intercourse with the world, and always 
ready to cooperate with others in any good work. 
After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the Czar Alex- 
ander, in his progress through Europe, took so many 
occasions in reply to public addresses and otherwise, 
to speak strongly in favor of universal peace, that 
the elder James Mott thought it a favorable oppor- 
tunity to address him from this side ; and a carefully 
prepared letter was sent to him, together with the 
three volumes which had then been issued of a jour- 
nal called 44 The Friend of Peace." In due time a 
gracious letter of thanks came back from St. Peters- 
burg containing expressions of sympathy with peace- ; 
ful sentiments, 


Another illustration of the spirit fostered in the 
home of the elder James Mott may be mentioned. 
About the end of the last century, his son Robert, 
then a merchant in New York, walking home one 
evening, passed a man lying drunk in the street, " and 
went by on the other side," — as most of us do. 
But the feeling that he was neglecting a fellow-crea- 
ture, who needed his care only the more because he 
was drunk, became so strong that he went back, 
aroused the man, and taking him to his own house, 
cared for him that night, and in the morning gave 
him kind words and provided him with work. This 
act of charity reformed the man. He afterwards 
found other work, and prospered, and a few years 
later returned to Robert Mott, and asked his accep- 
tance of a gold watch. It w r as the best watch he 
could buy, a heavy, gold repeater, and bore this 
inscription : " A tribute of gratitude from Thomas 
Donavan to Robert Mott." The watch is now in 
possession of Robert's nephew, Richard Mott, of To- 
ledo, Ohio, and is still an excellent timekeeper. 

After the elder James Mott had retired from the 
care of the mill, his sons, Richard, Robert, and Sam- 
uel, built a large new mill, lower down towards the 
mouth of the bay which provided the water-power, 
and, introducing every improvement then known, 
gave it the name of Premium Mill, and hence the 
place is still called Premium Point. It operated 
twelve runs of mill-stones, and was successful. In 
1803 Adam Mott was induced by his brothers-in-law 
to leave his mill at Cow-bay, and take his young 
family across the Sound to Premium Point. He 
settled on the farm adjoining that of his father-in-law 
on the north, having an interest in the mill, but giv- 



in 2 the most of his time to the farm. He was now 
in easy circumstances. American commerce was pros- 
perous. Europe was at war, and American vessels 
were neutral everywhere. But in 1804 Napoleon as- 
sumed the title of Emperor ; in 1805 the English 
courts began to condemn many American vessels for 
alleged violation of neutrality ; in 1806 the British 
Orders in Council and Napoleon's Berlin Decrees 
blockaded all the ports of Europe ; in 1807 the 
American Congress, on President Jefferson's recom- 
mendation, laid an embargo on all American vessels 
trading to foreign ports; the long - threatened war 
with England, which broke out in 1812, was preceded 
by an Indian .war in the Northwest ; and the com- 
mercial disasters and distress which began in 1805 
continued to increase until after the fall of Napoleon, 
and business did not revive until after 1820. 

It was in the face of these adverse circumstances 
that the younger James Mott began the world. In 
1807 his father removed from his pleasant farm to the 
mill-house near the great mill, and again gave dili- 
gent; attention to business, seeking to retrieve if pos- 
sible their failing fortunes, or at least to save some- 
thing from the wreck; and the same year James, 
who had just completed his nineteenth year, found 
employment as a teacher in Nine Partners school. 

This boarding-school became a conspicuous feature 
in James Mott's life. It had been founded in 1796 
by the New York Yearly Meeting of Friends, about 
fifteen miles from Poughkeepsie, to give a better edu- 
cation to the sons and daughters of Friends. But 
the co-education was in separate class-rooms, and 
under different teachers. The school was under the 
care of a committee of the Yearly Meeting ; and the 



elder James Mott, now a man of leisure, gave much 
time and care to its interests for many years, and 
sometimes permitted himself to be burdened with 
the chief responsibility of its administration. James 
and his sisters had been sent to this school when he 
was only nine years old, and had made friendships 
among their fellow - students. In 1806 his sister 
Sarah had brought home with her on a visit her 
school friend, Lucretia Coffin, then thirteen years of 
age. A letter from the elder James Mott, written 
soon after his grandson went to Nine Partners as a 
teacher, and addressed to his mother, says, u James 
answers an excellent purpose. I shall therefore con- 
sider him a teacher instead of an assistant, and make 
him the compensation that is right." And again 
later, et He is very steady and guarded in his con- 
duct, which I believe does not altogether proceed 
from his natural love to do so." How James him- 
self felt under his new responsibilities is shown in 
his letters to his parents. He writes under date : — 

N. P. B. S., 12th mo. 11th, 1807. 
. . . Then I concluded to write another letter, but grand- 
father wished me to assist him in posting his books, and 
to draw off some accounts, which took till one o'clock at 
night, so that I had not time to write again, to inform 
you more particularly of my situation, which I will now 
endeavor to do. You may reasonably expect it was a trial 
to me, to part with grandfather so soon after my coming 
here, and especially as the school was in an unsettled con- 
dition, . . . The morning after he left I entered the school 
as assistant to Hugh. As the arrangement of the school was 
somewhat different from what it was when I left here, I 
did not wish to take charge of it, until it was divided. This 
was done on Second-day ; Hugh taking sixteen of the most 
backward scholars, leaving me twenty-three that were fur- 



ther advanced. Then I took the charge, and if I may be 
allowed the expression, immediately felt myself loaded as 
it were with heavy shackles, grievous to be borne ; so much 
beyond my abilities did I conceive the task to be, that I 
said to myself, I have a burden upon me, far greater than 
I can bear or perform, and who shall support me under it, 
or deliver me from it. But presently these expressions 
were brought forcibly to my mind : ' Trust in the Lord, 
and He will help thee/ — surely, said I, that is all I can ask 
or wish for." 

He relates that Elias Hicks and his wife are at the 
school, and then adds, " Lucretia Coffin says she is 
very lonely since sister Sarah is gone, for there is 
nobody in the school that fills her place." 

Perhaps it was on this visit of Elias Hicks — as 
Lncretia Mott related three quarters of a century 
later — that in listening to a recitation in geography 
when the height of Chimborazo came in question, 
he sharply criticised the waste of time in teaching 
girls such useless things as the height of mountains. 
" Teach them something that will be useful to them 
in after life," said he. 

It appears that James did not at any time find his 
life as teacher attractive to him, for, nearly four 
years later, when writing from Philadelphia, "10 th 
mo. 12 th , 1811," of his sister Mary's experience in a 
like position, he says, " I can sympathize with her, 
having tasted of the same cup, mixed with ingredi- 
ents more bitter than she ever knew, or can have an 
idea of." . . . 

Nevertheless, he continued in the school during 
1809 ; and in the latter part of this time, Lucretia 
Coffin was an assistant teacher on the girls' side of 
the house. 


The Coffin House, Nantucket. 


Luceetia Coffin, the second of Thomas and 
Anna Coffin's six children, was bom on the Island 
of Nantucket, on the third of First month, 1793. 
Her ancestors had lived on the island since its first 
settlement by white men in 1659, and had been peo- 
ple of standing in every generation. Through her 
father, the seventeenth child of Benjamin Coffin, she 
was descended from two of the original purchasers of 
Nantucket, Tristram Coffyn, Sr., and Thomas Macy ; 
and on the side of her mother, Anna Folger, young- 
est daughter of William and Ruth Folger, from 
Peter Folger, of 44 Mather's Vineyard," another of 
these twenty 44 early proprietors." Searching the 
records through a maze of names familiar to Nan- 
tucket ears, Hopcote, Gayer, Severance, Bunker, 
Stevens, Austin, Morrell, Gardiner, Church, May- 
hew, Starbuck, Macy, Folger, and Coffin, it is inter- 
esting to find that both the father and the mother of 



Lucre tia Coffin — the mother, through her mother, 
Ruth Coffin — are descended from James Coffin, the 
third son of Tristram. Thus two branches of the 
family, dividing in the second generation, reunite in 
the fifth, in the person of Lucretia Coffin. 

It has generally been supposed that the first set- 
tlers of Nantucket were driven from their homes on 
the main-land by religious persecution ; and this view 
is supported by some of the highest authorities, but 
others believe that they emigrated thither solely 
with the object of bettering their material condition. 
It was a new region, land was cheap, and the agri- 
cultural prospects good. It is cited by advocates of 
the former theory, that Thomas Macy, one of these 
pioneers, was fined " 10s. for harboring Quakers ; " 
but as this happened several months after he became 
one of the purchasers of Nantucket, it can hardly be 
regarded as an inducement to that step. And an- 
other, Peter Folger, was known to be in sympathy 
with " anabaptists, quakers, and other sectaries, who 
had suffered persecution." In their behalf he wrote 
a poem, called " A Looking-Glass for the Times," in 
which he " attributes the wars with the natives, and 
other calamities which afflict the nation, to this per- 
secution," and regards them " as judgments of God." 
But this was written in 1675, several years after he 
removed to Nantucket, and there is no evidence of 
his having suffered at any time the persecution he 
deplores. Nor is any mention made, in such con- 
nection, of others of the twenty original purchasers. \ 
They came from various towns in the eastern part 
of Massachusetts. Chief among them was Tristram 
Coffyn, Sr. He was the son of Peter and Joan Cof- 
fyn, and was born in Brixton, Devonshire, England, 



where, it was said, he owned several estates. He 
was a royalist, and is supposed to have left England 
on account of some political difficulty ; but this is 
not certain. It is known, however, that he left his 
comfortable English home in 1642, and emigrated to 
America with his wife, Dionis Stevens, and their 
five small children. He lived first at Salisbury, 
Mass., then at Haverhill, and again for several years 
at Salisbury. Here he organized the company for 
the purchase of Nantucket. In 1662 he removed to 
the island with his family, and in 1671 was ap- 
pointed chief magistrate of the new settlement. 
Though but few years older than his companions, he 
was regarded as the patriarch of the colony, partic- 
ularly by the neighboring Indians, with whom he 
maintained friendly relations from first to last. He 
died in 1681, aged seventy-six years. While living, 
he divided the greater part of his large property 
among his children and grandchildren, " to have and 
to hold, and Quietly to In joy." The deeds record- 
ing these gifts usually begin with the significant 
words, "In regard of my Fatherly affections, I," etc. 
He left seven children, sixty grandchildren, and sev- 
eral great-grandchildren. 

James, the third son of Tristram Coffyn, was the 
great-great-grandfather of Lucretia Coffin. His wife 
was Mary Severance, of Salisbury. They had four- 
teen children, twelve of whom lived to have large 
families of their own. From these descended the 
tory branch of the Coffin family, whose best known 
representatives are Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, who, in 
the early part of this century, founded the school 
bearing his name in Nantucket ; and the two sons 
of General John Coffin, of St. John, New Brunswick, 
both admirals in the Royal Navy. 



James Coffin's younger sister, Mary, although, 
hardly within the scope of this account, being out- 
side the limit of lineal descent, is too striking a char- 
acter to be passed without some mention. She was 
the youngest daughter of Tristram and Dionis, and 
was born after they came to America. At the age 
of seventeen she married Nathaniel Starbuck, and, 
according to an old chronicle, became 44 a Deborah 
among the people, for little of moment was done 
without her." She was accustomed to attend the 
town meetings, and take an active part in their pro- 
ceedings. It is said that she usually began her re- 
marks with some allusion to her husband, such as 
"My husband thinks," or "My husband and I feel," 
etc. In 1701, during a religious visit of the cele- 
brated English preacher, John Richardson, she was 
converted to Quakerism, and became a 4 'mighty 
instrument," through which large numbers were 
brought into the same faith. 

Lucretia Coffin's mother was a Folger of the fifth 
generation from the Peter Folger, the " learned and 
godly Englishman," mentioned before, who first ac- 
companied Tristram Coffyn to Nantucket as inter- 
preter with the Indians, and afterward joined him in 
the purchase of the island. An emphatic testimony 
to his reputation is furnished by the following clause 
in the old court records concerning the proper divis- 
ion of Nantucket among its new owners : 44 At the 
same meeting, it was ordered that Tristram Coffin, 
Thomas Macy, Edward Starbuck, Thomas Barnard, 
and Peter Folger, of Mather's Vineyard, shall have 
power to measure and lay out said Land according to 
the above said awder, and whatsoever shall be done 
and concluded in the said case by any three of them, 



Peter Folger being one, shall be accounted Legall 
and valid." 

Peter Folger married Mary Morrell. They had 
nine children, all of whom lived to grow up and 
marry. Eleazer, the eldest son, married Sarah Gardi- 
ner, and became the great-great-grandfather of Anna 
Folger, the mother of Lucretia Coffin. The youngest 
child, Abiah, married Josiah Franklin, and was the 
mother of Dr. Benjamin Franklin. 

A Nantucket writer, Benjamin Franklin Folger, 
after commenting on the remarkable longevity of 
some of these early settlers and their descendants, 
says : — 

" Their situation in life required the most unflinching 
self-reliance, and in that day of farming and fishing, it fol- 
lowed, of course, that their physical powers were suffi- 
ciently taxed for their most vigorous expansion. . . . Not 
only the smaller fish, but the whale itself, was pursued 
from the shore ; and at the first dawn of day the men were 
in readiness to leave their homes, having taken their morn- 
ing meal with such parts of the families as had hastened 
its preparation. The men proceeded on their adventurous 
voyage, full of expectation and hope, and in entire confi- 
dence that the women would be no idle worshipers at 
home. The cows were milked, the butter was churned, 
the wool was carded and spun, the cloth was woven, and 
the unpainted floors scoured and neatly sanded ; the oven 
had been previously heated for the rye and Indian bread, 
the pumpkin pies, and other substantial provisions for the 
table, that the father and his sons might be made doubly 
welcome on their return at nightfall. The men returned, 
the boats had been successful, and the joy of the family 
was complete. Some of the men had gigantic strength, 
and some of the matrons would walk from fifteen to twenty 
miles without thinking it a hardship. Here were fine con- 



stitutions, and a long life seemed to be the legitimate at- 

Another writer, Hector St. John, of Pennsylvania, 
visiting Nantucket one hundred years after the time 
of the foregoing, in order to witness for himself the 
curious customs of which he had heard, says : — 

" It is but seldom that vice grows on a barren soil like 
this, which produces nothing without extreme labor. How 
could the common follies of society take root in so despi- 
cable a soil ? They generally thrive on its exuberant 
juices ; here we have none but those which administer to 
the useful, to the necessary, and to the indispensable com- 
forts of life. . . . The inhabitants abhor the very idea of 
expending in useless waste and vain luxuries the fruits of 
prosperous labor. . . . The simplicity of their manners 
shortens the catalogue of their wants. ... At home the 
tender minds of the children must be early struck with the 
gravity, the serious, though cheerful deportment of their 
parents ; they are inured to a principle of subordination, 
arising neither from sudden passions, nor inconsistent pleas- 
ure. They are corrected with tenderness, nursed with 
most affectionate care, clad with that decent plainness from 
which they observe their parents never to depart ; in short, 
by the force of example, more than by precept, they learn 
to follow the steps of their parents, and to despise ostenta- 
tiousness as being sinful. They acquire a taste for that 
neatness for which their fathers are so conspicuous ; they 
learn to be prudent and saving ; the very tone of voice in 
which they are addressed establishes in them that softness 
of diction which ever after becomes habitual. If they are 
left with fortunes, they know how to save them, and how 
to enjoy them with moderation and decency ; if they have 
none, they know how to venture, how to work and toil as 
their parents have done before them. At meetings they 
are taught the few, the simple tenets of their sect ; tenets 



fit to render men sober, industrious, just, and merciful. . „ . 
There are but two congregations in this town, and but one 
priest on the whole island. This lonely clergyman is the 
Presbyterian minister, who has a very large and respecta- 
ble congregation ; the other is composed of Quakers, who 
admit of no one particular person entitled to preach, to 
catechise, and to receive certain salaries for his trouble. 
Most of these people are continually at sea, and often have 
the most urgent reasons to worship the Parent of Nature 
in the midst of the storms which they encounter. These 
two sects live in perfect peace and harmony with each 
other. Every one goes to that place of worship which he 
likes best, and thinks not that his neighbor does wrong by 
not following him. ... As the sea excursions are often 
very long, the wives are necessarily obliged to transact 
business, to settle accounts, and, in short, to rule and pro- 
vide for their families. These circumstances being oft- 
repeated give women the ability, as well as the taste, for 
that kind of superintendency to which, by their prudence 
and good management, they seem to be in general very 
equal. This ripens their judgment, and justly entitles them 
to a rank superior to that of other wives. To this dexter- 
ity in managing their husband's business whilst he is ab- 
sent, the Nantucket women unite a great deal of industry. 
They spin, or cause to be spun, abundance of wool and 
flax, and would be forever disgraced and looked upon as 
idlers, if all the family were not clad in good, neat, and 
sufficient homespun cloth. First-days are the only sea- 
sons when it is lawful for both sexes to exhibit garments 
of English manufacture, and even these are of the most 
moderate price, and of the gravest colors. . . . The ab- 
sence of so many men at particular seasons leaves the 
town quite desolate, and this mournful situation disposes 
the women to go to each others' homes much oftener than 
when their husbands are at home. The house is always 
cleaned before they set out, and with peculiar alacrity they 



pursue their intended visit, which consists of a social chat, 
a dish of tea, and an hearty supper. . . . The young fel- 
lows easily find out which is the most convenient house, 
and there they assemble with the girls of the neighborhood. 
Instead of cards, musical instruments, or songs, they relate 
stories of their various sea-adventures, . . . and if anyone 
has lately returned from a cruise, he is generally the speaker 
of the night. Pyes aud custards never fail to be produced 
on such occasions ; . . . they laugh and talk together until 
the father and mother return, when all retire to their re- 
spective homes, the men reconducting the partner of their 
affections. Thus they spend many of the youthful even- 
ings of their lives ; no wonder therefore that they marry 
so early." 

In this primitive life grew up the two young peo- 
ple who were to be the father and mother of Lu- 
cretia Coffin. In 1779, when Thomas Coffin had 
obtained the command of his first ship, he married 
his neighbor and playmate, Anna Folger, he being 
twenty-two years old, and she just seventeen. They 
were both consistent members of the Society of 
Friends, as their fathers had been before them for 
several generations. Thomas Coffin, although a 
sailor from his boyhood, was a courteous and refined 
man, of unusually studious habits, and strong relig- 
ious feeling. His most marked characteristic was 
that of unwavering integrity. In appearance he was 
intelligent, rather than handsome ; in manner kindly, 
though somewhat formal. Anna Folger, the young- 
est of six sisters, sometimes called by the towns-peo- 
ple " Bill Folger's tory daughters," was a woman 
conspicuous throughout her life for great energy, 
keen wit, and unfailing good sense. A portrait, 
painted some ten years after her marriage, repre- 
sents a stately woman, with large, penetrating eyes. 



dark hair, a low, broad forehead, and firm mouth. 
Her father, William Folger, at one time a large 
ship-owner, lost much of his property during the war 
of the Revolution, his ships being seized at sea. 
Being a declared Tory, he was no favorite with his 
companions ; they liked to tell, at his expense, that 
the only thing he had ever found in his life was a 
jack-knife, sticking in a post above his head. His 
daughters, women of ability and rare good sense, 
inherited both his dignified bearing and his conser- 
vative tendencies. Anna, who was less conventional 
than the others, told with amusement of a rebuke 
once given her by her elder sister Elizabeth, when 
she went out to the pump for water. It belonged 
to several families, and was in full sight from the 
street. Anna's vigorous stroke reached the ears of 
Elizabeth, who remonstrated, saying, " Don't, sister, 
don't pump so strong ! " 

As has been said before, Thomas and Anna Coffin 
had six children, one boy and five girls, of whom 
Lucretia was the second. The house in which the 
young couple began their married life, and in which 
Lucretia was born, is not standing ; but we are told 
that it was near by the one which Captain Coffin 
built while Lucretia was still a little girl. She could 
remember but a single incident connected with the 
old house : that it was struck by lightning one day 
while she was left in charge of her baby sister, and 
that a neighbor came in and took them both home 
with her ; but no impression of terror seemed to 
mingle with the recollection. All the associations of 
her childhood were with the new house, into which 
the family removed in 1797. It still stands in good 
preservation on Fair Street, in Nantucket town. As 



with all houses of that period, more attention was 
paid to comfort and strength in its erection than to 
ornament, although the mahogany rail on its easy 
staircase shows that it was meant to be as hand- 
some as was consistent with proper Friendly sim- 
plicity. Its frame was of solid hand-hewn oak, and 
the chimney-pieces were paneled up to the ceiling 
over the open fire-places. The room at the right- 
hand of the front door was the parlor, the scene of 
many happy family gatherings : and it was little 
Lucretia's place, on these occasions, while the elders 
were at tea, to watch the wood fire, and draw the 
chairs into a sociable circle about it. This naturally 
grew to be in her mind an essential feature of hos- 
pitality. Long after, in her old age, we can all re- 
member her saying, " Move up, — come forward, — 
do come more into a circle ! " How often, after she 
became so feeble that she could not sit during the 
whole tea-time at table with her guests, has she 
slipped away into the parlor, and, tired as she was, 
before lying down to rest a few minutes, pushed the 
chairs into a close circle around the fire, ready, as 
she felt, for the evening's conversation ! Side by 
side, in my mind, are the two pictures : the little 
girl in Nantucket, and the dear grandmother at 
" Roadside," arranging the chairs in the time-hon- 
ored way. 

In the room to the left of the front door Anna 
Coffin kept a small shop for the sale of East India 
goods, by this means eking out a scanty income dur- 
ing her husband's long and uncertain voyages to 
China. The shutter of the shop window, when open, 
projected far enough beyond the corner of the house 
to be visible down the side lane, the children's way 



from school. Lucretia often told how eagerly they 
used to watch for that sign of their mother's being 
at home, and how cheery her welcome was when 
they ran in. Their frugal dinner was a feast when 
she presided. In carrying on her business, Anna 
Coffin was occasionally obliged to go to the " conti- 
nent," as they called the main-land, to exchange oil, 
candles, and other staples of the island, for dry goods 
and groceries. In those days such a journey was a 
serious undertaking, and constituted an important 
event to the little family, especially to Lucretia, who 
was left in charge. The mother's return was impa- 
tiently looked for, and was made a great occasion. 
But the prominent events were the arrival home of 
vessels from China, or from the still longer peril of a 
whaling voyage. When one of these was sighted, 
and the crier, going his rounds, shouted the good 
news at the street corners, the whole population be- 
took themselves to the " walks " 1 on the house-tops, 
spy-glass in hand, to see whose ship was coming. By 
the time it had crossed the bar and was rounding 
the point, Long Wharf was rilled by an expectant 
crowd, and touching were the scenes of welcome 
there. Nantucket was then at the height of her 
commercial success. It was said that the little 
island contributed more men to the whale fishery 
and East India trade than any other town of its pop- 
ulation. So identical was such employment with 
thrift and prosperity, that a Nantucket good-wife 
asked for no better fortune than " a clean hearth and 
a husband at sea." 

1 A walk is a platform, railed in, extending along the peak of the 
house, and accessible by a trap-door in the roof. These lookouts sur- 
mounted most of the old houses in Nantucket. 



Among the curious customs of this primitive com- 
munity, and one that Lucretia delighted to recall, 
was the u veal feast." Fresh meat being a rare 
luxury, the killing of a calf was a time of excite- 
ment to all concerned, particularly to the children. 
It is recorded that, on one such memorable occa- 
sion, the little Lucretia was told, " Now if thee 's a 
good girl, thee shall see them kill the calf ! " The 
" veal feast " that followed was a family reunion, 
occupying two days. On the first, all the husband's 
relations were bidden ; on the second, all the wife's ; 
and to those unable to come, a portion of the good 
things was carried, in dishes wrapped in great square 
napkins especially provided for this use. It speaks 
well for Nantucket neighborliness, that such napkins 
always made part of a bridal outfit. The veal was 
presented to the guests at the " feast," under various 
skillful disguises made from receipts handed down 
through a long line of good cooks. Then, as now, the 
women of Nantucket understood to perfection the art 
of cookery, — how to make much out of very little, 
as well as to make the most of much. While they 
were content with their ordinary fare of bacon and 
corned beef, clams, fish, and corn bread, they rejoiced 
in occasions that called forth their culinary skill. 

Another annual festivity was the three -days 
" shearing feast," when old and young made a holi- 
day and went out to the ponds on Miacomet plain 
to wash and shear the sheep. Among the Friends 
there were also the more weighty gatherings of 
Monthly and Quarterly meetings, when strangers, — 
or " off-islanders," — sometimes filled the hospitable 
houses to overflowing. 

Anna Coffin, like the rest of the women whose 



husbands were following the sea, enjoyed an occa- 
sional " dish of tea " with her neighbors ; and espe- 
cially with her five sisters, who were all married and 
settled in the same town. When going to join them, 
she would say to her daughters, " Now, after you 
have finished knitting twenty bouts, you may go 
down cellar and pick out as many as you want of the 
smallest potatoes, — the very smallest, — and roast 
them in the ashes." A primitive treat, truly, but 
one long remembered ! The huge fire-place in the 
cellar, where the children held this feast, was the 
place where most of the family cooking was done. 
It still remains in the old house, though unused. 

When it was the aunts' turn to visit Anna Coffin, 
the children would be sent early to bed, with per- 
mission to talk as long as they pleased, and often 
with a consolatory promise of reward the next day; 
but this was little comfort to Lucretia, who always 
longed to stay down stairs to hear the conversation 
of the grown people. Although not the oldest of the 
little family, she was most her mother's companion, 
and very early shared the care and responsibility of 
the household. At ten years of age she was given 
the charge of one of her younger sisters, a trust of 
which she felt very- proud. If a message were to be 
carried, or an errand to be done, she was generally 
chosen to do it, as she was both quick to understand 
and quick to execute. But this very readiness made 
her impatient with the slowness or stupidity of 
others. She required every one to be as sensible as 

Her parents were careful to preserve in their chil- 
dren the peculiarities of the religious society to which 
they belonged, training them to be careful in their 


daily observances, and regular in their attendance 
at meeting, where they learned to sit still without 
restlessness or drowsiness, and to feel the value of 
silence. Lucretia, a very active child, and quick-tem- 
pered, — called " spitfire " and k< tease " by her school- 
mates, — was warm-hearted and ingenuous, and al- 
ways eager to correct her faults. When a Friend, 
Elizabeth Coggeshall, visiting Nantucket on a relig- 
ious " concern," had a "sitting" with the Coffin 
family, and addressed the children on the importance 
of heeding the inward monitor, and of praying for 
strength to follow its directions, Lucretia, conscious 
of a wa}^ward spirit, was profoundly impressed, and 
appropriated the remarks to her own needs, as if they 
had been particularly directed to her. But, although 
she had many spiritual difficulties to overcome, she 
was not an unruly child ; on the contrary, as she 
many years afterwards wrote in a short autobiograph- 
ical sketch, " I always loved the good, and in child- 
hood tried to do right, praying for strength to over- 
come a naturally hasty temper. Being trained in 
the religious Society of Friends, I had no faith in the 
generally received idea of human depravity. My 
sympathy was early enlisted for the poor slave by 
the class books read in our schools, and the pictures 
of the slave-ships as presented by Clarkson." In 
later years she often repeated a description of the 
horrors of the " middle passage," which she had 
learned from the school reading -book, " Mental Im- 
provement by Priscilla Wakefield." It was written 
by Clarkson, and ended with the words, " Humanity 
shudders at your account." This made an indelible 
impression on her young mind. It was at this time 
also that she committed to memory an alphabetical 



acrostic by " an early Friend," by writing each line 
for a copy in her writing-book. When, at the re- 
quest of her grandchildren, in 1868, she copied it 
from memory, she could recall only as far as the 
letter O : — 

" All mortal men that live must surely die, 
But how, or when, is hid from human eye. 
Consider then, thy few uncertain days, 
Delay no longer to amend thy ways. 
Engage thy heart to serve the Lord in love, 
For all his ways do ways of comfort prove. 
Grant to thyself no time for vain delight, 
Hate all that 's wrong, and try to do the right. 
In all thou ever dost, act in God's fear, 
Keep still the thought of death and judgment near. 
Learn to avoid what thou believ'st is sin, 
Mind what reproves or justifies within. 
No act is good that doth disturb thy peace, 
Or can be bad, which makes true joy increase." 

These last four lines she often gave as a sentiment, 
with her autograph, particularly to young people. 

Captain Coffin's last cruise was made in 1800, 
when his little daughter Lucretia was seven years 
old. He sailed, as commander and owner, in the 
ship Trial, from Wood's Holl, — Nantucket bar be- 
ing too shallow for the largest vessels to cross, — 
in quest of seal-skins to take to China and exchange 
for silks, nankeens, china, and tea. He bought some 
in the Straits of Magellan, and forwarded them in 
another vessel bound for China, going himself in 
search of a larger cargo. When he had been out 
a year, the Trial was seized by the Spaniards off 
the Pacific coast of South America, for alleged viola- 
tion of neutrality, and taken to Valparaiso. Captain 
Coffin undertook his own defense in the Spanish 
courts, and obtained some favorable decisions ; but 
after much delay, finding that he could get no re- 



dress, and that there was no chance of regaining his 
vessel, he left Valparaiso, crossed the Andes, and 
found passage home from a port in Brazil. When 
he finally reached home, after an absence of three 
years, he learned that his family had heard nothing 
of him for more than a year, and had believed him 
lost. His children loved to recall their delight in his 
return ; how they clustered about him to hear him 
recount, over and over again, the wonderful story of 
his adventures ; the amusement he took in teaching 
them some of the Spanish phrases that he had 
learned, and in requiring them to bid him "good 
morning " and "good night " in Spanish (our grand- 
mother, more than seventy years afterwards, could 
repeat these words as if she had learned them the 
day before ) ; and his warm-hearted defense of the 
Catholics of South America, because of the hospi- 
tality shown him by a kind Catholic family dur- 
ing his long stay in Valparaiso. It is also inter- 
esting to know that, notwithstanding the loss of his 
vessel and cargo, the seal-skins sent to China with, 
his friend had made such good returns that the voy- 
age was considered profitable. Seven years after this 
event, Captain Mayhew Folger, Anna Coffin's young- 
est brother, had his ship seized in the same way ; 
but, more fortunate than Captain Coffin, he recov- 
ered both his ship and $44,000 damages.. While he 
was at Valparaiso, awaiting the court's decision, he 
saw the poor Trial still lying at the wharf. This 
Captain Folger was the one who, in 1809, discovered 
the lost mutineers of the English ship Bounty, on 
Pitcairn's Island, where they had remained unmo- 
lested for nineteen years. 

This unfortunate experience of Captain Coffin's 




was his last as a seafaring man. Soon after, in the 
Seventh month of 1804, when Lucretia was in her 
twelfth year, he removed with his family to Boston, 
where he engaged in a profitable commercial busi- 
ness. This was the first time Lucretia or her sisters 
had ever left Nantucket, even for a visit. Although 
they never returned to the island to live, Lucretia 
always seemed to regard this first home with an af- 
fection different from that which she felt for any 
subsequent dwelling-place. In after years she taught 
her children, to the third generation, to cherish its 
traditions. "Nantucket way" became household 
law. The habits formed in these early days dis- 
tinguished her through life, — " simplicity, moder- 
ation, temperance, and self-restraint in all material 
things ; " these, together with an abhorrence of false- 
hood and injustice wherever shown, consecrated her 
to that gospel which anoints to " preach deliver- 
ance to the captive," and " to set at liberty them 
that are bruised." 

Thomas Coffin's house in Boston was situated on 
the north side of Green Street, a little below Char- 
don Street. The garden at the back of the house 
sloped down to the fields, beyond which the Cause- 
way crossed to Charlestown. From her window Lu- 
cretia had an unobstructed view of the Charles and 
the Mystic rivers, with the low hills on the other 
side, and could hear the sound of travel on the draw- 
bridges. Green Street was then a select, if not an 
aristocratic neighborhood, soon made still more de- 
sirable by the erection of a block of dwelling-houses 
fronting on Bowcloin Square, which, from their un- 
usually handsome finish, — mahogany window-seats 
and doors, — became the admiration and talk of that 



part of the town. Lucretia was taken by her father 
to see these while they were being built. He also 
used to walk with her on First-day afternoons, out 
Marlboro' Street, — now Washington, — to the nar- 
row neck where the high tide washed up on both 
sides of the road ; returning thence by the way of 
Charles Street, on the bank of the broad Back Bay; 
or by the pretty gardens and fine residences on 
Franklin and Summer streets. 

The children at first attended a private school, but 
afterwards, at the wish of their father, were sent to 
the public school of the district, " to mingle with all 
classes without distinction." Lucretia wrote after- 
wards concerning this change : " It was the custom 
then to send the children of such families to select 
schools ; but my parents feared that would minister 
to a feeling of class pride, which they felt was sinful 
to cultivate in their children. And this I am glad 
to remember, because it gave me a feeling of sym- 
pathy for the patient and struggling poor, which, but 
for this experience, I might never have known." 

When she was thirteen years old she was sent with 
a younger sister to the Friends' boarding-school, at 
Nine Partners, N. Y., before mentioned, where her 
future husband, James Mott, was already a teacher 
on the boys' side of the house. In accordance with 
the general practice of the Society of Friends, both 
boys and girls were admitted to the school, but under 
a stricter surveillance than is now considered neces- 
sary in such establishments. They were not per- 
mitted to meet, or speak to each other, unless they 
were near relatives, when they might talk a little 
while together on certain days, over a certain corner 
of the fence that divided their play-grounds. The 


sister who accompanied Lucretia to school was the 
" desirable little Elizabeth," as her father called her 
in his letters. She was of excellent abilities, and of 
a sweet and loving disposition, but so retiring that 
she always placed herself in the background. Lu- 
cretia loved her with the deepest affection ; and in 
their seventy years of almost daily intercourse sel- 
dom failed to take counsel with the shy and gentle 
companion whose judgment she valued so highly. 
Their loving intimacy was interrupted only by the 
death of Eliza in 1870. 

They remained at Nine-Partners two years with- 
out going home. This does not appear unreasonable 
when we consider that the journey had to be made 
chiefly in private conveyance, and was too expensive 
to be lightly undertaken , but it does seem a little 
hard, even making due allowance for the high rates 
of postage in that day, that a baby sister should 
have grown to be three months old before they heard 
of its existence. In the main, however, their school 
experience was a happy one. Like other spirited 
children, Lucretia sometimes rebelled under what 
she considered unreasonable severity, and gave trou- 
ble to the authorities; but she was conscientious, and 
as ready to acknowledge her faults as she was quick 
to see them. She could bear punishment herself 
much easier than to see others punished. Once, 
when one of the boys, James Mott's cousin, and a 
favorite with her, was confined in a dark closet on 
bread and water, for what she thought was a trifling 
misdemeanor, she and her sister contrived to get into 
the forbidden side of the house where he was, and 
supply him with bread and butter under the door. 
One of the favorite amusements of the girls was to 



" play meeting." On one such occasion they held a 
" meeting for business," to consider a case of viola- 
tion of the " Discipline." Lucretia and one other 
girl were appointed to visit the offender and report 
to the meeting, which they did in the following 
words, given with a very drawling tone : " Friends, 
we have visited Tabitha Field, — and — we labored 
with her — and we — think — we — mellowed her — 

Among her schoolmates, Lucretia liked best James 
Mott's sister Sarah, whom she accompanied to Cow- 
neck in one of their vacations, thus meeting for the 
first time the family whose name she was afterwards 
to bear. 

Susan Marriott, the principal teacher of the 
school, was an Englishwoman of uncommon acquire- 
ments, with a special fondness for the study of gram- 
mar, — a fondness which she succeeded in impart- 
ing to her pupils. She was very critical of their pro- 
nunciation and their choice of language, and made 
nice discrimination between words, which our grand- 
mother often repeated in later life, with capital im- 
itation of her old teacher's precise and antiquated 
style. Susan Marriott also taught her scholars to 
appreciate English poetry, and had them learn se- 
lected passages by heart, as a regular school exer- 
cise. It was, doubtless, to her influence that Lu- 
cretia Mott owed her familiarity with Cowper and 
Young. In her old age she would repeat page after 
page of the " Task," as the family sat together on 
the porch at " Roadside," in the dusky summer even- 
ings. The course of studies was hardly what could 
be called wide in its scope, but it was all that the 
Quakerism of that day demanded, and the instruc- 



tion was thorough as far as it went. As in other 
schools of the time, this included the " use of the 
globes," but no map of any kind was used until 
Captain Coffin, in 1807, presented one of the United 
States. This was the first map Lucretia ever saw. 
The teachers were paid small salaries, only about 
8100 a year, in addition to their board. Neverthe- 
less, when Lucretia, at the age of fifteen, was made 
assistant teacher, the appointment was very gratify- 
ing to her ; particularly when, at the end of the first 
year, she was promoted to the position of regular 
teacher, with the additional inducement that her ser- 
vices would entitle a younger sister to her education. 
Of this she says herself : " My father was at that 
time in successful business in Boston, but with his 
views of the importance of training women to useful- 
ness, he and my mother gave their consent to an- 
other year's being devoted to school." During this 
last year, the teachers, James Mott and Lucretia 
Coffin among them, formed a French class, and took 
lessons for six weeks. In this and other ways they 
showed a desire for wider culture than that afforded 
by the somewhat meagre plan of Friendly education. 
It was at this time, to quote her own words again, 
" that the unequal condition of woman impressed my 
mind. Learning that the charge for the tuition of 
girls was the same as that for boys, and that when 
they became teachers women received only half as 
much as men for their services, the injustice of this 
distinction was so apparent, that I earbv resolved to 
claim for myself all that an impartial Creator had 

While the sisters were at Nine-Partners, some re- 
lations of their father, doing a driving business in 



cut-nails, then a new thing in the world, induced him 
to give up his own business in Boston and take 
charge of a branch of theirs in Philadelphia. He 
consequently removed to that city with his family in 
1809. The factory of which he had charge was es- 
tablished at a place called French Creek, about 
twenty miles from the city ; and the sales made by 
Thomas Coffin reached 8100,000 a year, which was 
then thought a large sum. For a while all went 
well, but in an unlucky hour he indorsed for a friend 
and lost heavily. Before this unfortunate reverse, 
however, and while everything seemed prosperous, 
his daughters had left school, and rejoined the fam- 
ily in their new home in Philadelphia ; and thither, 
in 1810, James Mott followed them. 


While James Mott and Lucretia Coffin were teach- 
ers together at Nine-Partners, a strong attachment 
grew up between them which resulted in an engage- 
ment of marriage. James was a tall, pleasant-look- 
ing youth, with sandy hair and kindly blue eyes. In 
manner he was shy and grave. As can be inferred 
from his letters, he took serious views of life, and 
was much given to religious contemplation. Lucre- 
tia was a sprightly girl of more than ordinary come- 
liness, and uncommon intellectual promise. In strong 
contrast with James Mott, she was short of stature, 
quick in her movements, and, notwithstanding the 
repression of Quaker training, impulsive and viva- 
cious in manner. She had a keen appreciation of 
humor, and was fond of a joke, even at her own ex- 
pense. Combined with these lighter qualities, and 
prominent even at this early time, were those ele- 
ments of spiritual fervor and strength which ripened 
into the revered character of Lucretia Mott. 

The engagement of the two young people was re- 
garded with much favor by their respective families, 
and an early marriage was encouraged. With this 
in view, James Mott gave up his position of teacher, 
with its meagre salary, and accepted a place offered 
him in Thomas Coffin's business in Philadelphia ; in 
which he prospered so well, that in a few months he 
and Lucretia concluded to " pass meeting," as the fol- 
lowing letter to his parents shows : — 



PhilA., 121 li mo. 12th, 1810. 
Honored Parents, — I resume the pen to say that I 
have come to a conclusion to settle in this city. Had I 
consulted my own feelings and inclinations, independently 
of other circumstances, I should have decided to return and 
settle in New York. But when we take into view that the 
business here is an established one, and the person with 
whom connected, a man of experience and prudence, I be- 
lieve you will say with me that this is the most eligible. 
. . . We have concluded (Lucretia and myself) to declare 
our intentions of marriage before the monthly m g in 2 nd m° 
next, which will be on the 20 th , with your, and her parents' 
consent. You will please write me on the subject, and 
should you concur, will recollect that your consent signified 
in writing will be necessary. Jas. Mott, Jr. 

This formidable proceeding was one of the precau- 
tions taken by the Society of Friends, " that young 
or unmarried persons may be preserved from the 
dangerous bias of forward, brittle, and uncertain af- 
fections." To quote farther from the Rules of Dis- 
cipline : — 

" Proposals of marriage are to be presented in writing to 
the preparative meeting, of which the woman is a member, 
signed by the parties ; . . . and the said written proposal 
is to be forwarded by the preparative to the monthly meet- 
ing ; ... if no reasons appear to prevent it, their said in- 
tentions should be minuted, and inquiry made concerning 
consent of parents or guardians, whose consent should be 
either personally expressed, or sent to the monthly meet- 
ing. . . . Two Friends are to be appointed to inquire into 
the man's clearness for proceeding in marriage ; and a 
similar care should be taken by the woman's meeting, con- 
cerning the woman. ... At the second monthly meeting, 
they are to be present, separately, in their respective meet- 
ings, and should the committee report that there appears to 



be no obstruction to their proceeding, the meeting is to 
leave them at liberty to accomplish their marriage accord- 
ing to the order of our Society." 

The following letter shows how this ordeal im- 
pressed James Mott : — 

Phila., 2nd mo., 23d, 1811. 

Honored Parents, — 

. . . Lucretia and myself declared our intentions of mar- 
riage on Fourth-day last, the 20th. I found the anticipation 
of it much more than the reality as regards timidity, or fear, 
or bashfulness. I felt as calm and composed during the 
whole operation as if I had been speaking before so many 
cabbage stumps. May I not consider it as an omen of the 
rectitude of the procedure, for circumstances that have re- 
quired much less firmness and composure have heretofore 
put me in a great flustration. Our appearance was plain, 
and becoming the occasion. All parties were pleased with it. 
Anna Coffin wishes me to say that at the time of our mar- 
riage, she will not consent for you to go to any other house 
as a home, than theirs ; or rather, she will be very much 
disappointed if you do. It may not be necessary for me to 
add, that I shall have much more of your company at their 
house, than at any other where you might go ! Perhaps 
when you come again, L. and myself can entertain you in 
a house of our own. We begin to make some calculations 
respecting future proceedings, and hope to get to house- 
keeping early in the fall, at farthest : but this is all in an- 
ticipation ; a precarious thing to place much dependence 
upon, but a fictitious pleasure may be derived from it, in 
idea and imagination. 

There is no pleasure now in anticipating things in the 
mercantile line. A very gloomy prospect presents itself. 
The entanglements with foreign nations, and the distress 
occasioned at home from the circumstance of the U. S. 
bank charter not being renewed, are serious things for 



merchants generally. Many failures have taken place, and 
no doubt many more will. All confidence is destroyed, and 
those who have money keep it in their own hands. . . . 
With much regard for all, I am 

J. Mott, Jr. 

On the 10th of 4th mo., 1811, in Pine Street Meet- 
ing-house, the marriage of James Mott, Jr., and Lu- 
cretia Coffin was accomplished according to the order 
of Friends, " with a gravity and weight becoming the 
occasion." James was almost twenty- three years of 
age, Lucretia a little past eighteen. For the first 
few months afterwards they formed part of Thomas 
Coffin's family, not feeling quite justified in under- 
taking the heavier expense of housekeeping for them- 

The following admirable letter was the first ad- 
dressed to the young couple after their marriage by 
Anne Mott, the mother of James : — 

New Rochelle, 5th mo. 8th, 1811. 
When I parted with my dear children I had no idea that 
more than three weeks would elapse ere I should take the 
pen to tell them how oft the affection of a mother leads 
her to visit them in idea, and to desire that no future time 
may cause them to remember the present happy hours with 
a sigh of regret, but that each succeeding day may bring an 
increase of pure, tranquil contentment ; and though I do 
not expect to gain full credit, I will hazard the sentiment, 
that if it is your united endeavor to make each other hap- 
py, ten years hence, on comparing your feelings and meas- 
uring your affection by what you now consider its greatest 
height, you will gratefully acknowledge that the early days 
of wedded life are but the dawn of that happiness which is 
attached to it. Yet do not mistake me ; I do not wish for 
you to look for an unclouded sky ; this is not the lot of 



mortals ; but only to believe that, by doing all in your 
power to deserve the blessing of sincere and unbroken love 
to each other, you will find that love so increased as to be- 
come an asylum of rest when all other temporal supports 
fail, and only prove how frail a support they are. But be- 
ware, my beloved children, of supposing that even the most 
ardent affection can give that happiness which the maternal 
breast craves for you, should your hearts rest only in each 
other; raise them to Him, who has already blessed in join- 
ing you together, and who will continue to bless, if there is 
a disposition to estimate his favors rightly. Let the happi- 
ness which only real Christians experience be the mark for 
which you aim, the prize for which you run, and then will 
every secondary consideration have only its own, its proper 

Not only " ten years hence," as she said, but fifty 
years later, when the beautiful wedded life was 
crowned with its golden wedding, the sentiment "haz- 
arded " by this loving and devout mother was echoed 
by the happy circle of children, grandchildren, and 
great - grandchildren, gathered in thanksgiving for 
those who were blessed in being joined together. 

The letters following the foregoing are personal 
and of little general interest. A few extracts will 
show how soon the difficulties attending the war of 
1812 beset the young couple : — 


7th mo. 20th, 1811. 

We have hired a neat, new house in Union st. near fa- 
ther's, the market, meeting-house, and my business; rent 
$300 a year. We shall begin house-keeping as soon as we 
can get ready, say in about a month 

.Business is very dull. 




10th mo. 1st, 1811. 
I wish to give you some information of a fever that has 
for some time been gradually making inroads upon Father 
Coffin's family and myself ; commonly called the Ohio fever. 
Commercial business in all large cities has got to a very 
low ebb. Very little can be done, and what is, is with 
much risk. From this cause we have been thinking, and 
with seriousness, of winding up our business in this city, 
and moving to that country ; but no conclusion has been 
come to. 

Many plans have been made, but none matured except 
one, which is that Father Coffin's family are to move into 
the house we now occupy, and thus make one family. This 
they will probably do next week. The house is sufficiently 
large to accommodate us all and leave one spare chamber, 
and our expenses will be much curtailed. 

All this will no doubt appear strange and unaccountable 
to you ; that is, our prospect of removing. I have not be- 
lieved until now that it would really take place, though I 
have thought seriously of it myself, and I now find that 
others have also. 


11th mo. 2d, 1811. 
Since I wrote last there has been time for calm and cool 
reflection, and this time has been in some measure improved 
by your son : I have endeavored to weigh and compare 
the imaginary conveniences and inconveniences, advantages 
and disadvantages, that would probably arise in taking such 
a step. To come to the main point in question, it is simply 
this — and no more nor less — feeling rather discouraged 
with business, it was natural to look abroad for some other 
home and employment, and Ohio being suggested, it was 
listened to with some attention, and many projects men- 
tioned, but not one has been put into execution, nor is there 


now much probability that they will be, for the fever has 
considerably abated. 

In the course of the year 1812, however, Thomas 
and Anna Coffin, in company with several others, 
made a journey on horseback to the present site of 
Massillon, Ohio, with a view to settling there per- 
manently, if the change appeared advantageous, but 
they found it best to return to Philadelphia, where 
Thomas Coffin continued the commission business 
until his death in 1815. Meanwhile, James Mott, 
finding the business hardly sufficient to maintain two 
families, kept on the lookout for something more 
profitable. In this perplexing condition of affairs, 
his aged grandfather, for whom he was named, wrote 
the excellent letters that follow at intervals. Al- 
though some of them may seem rather long for in- 
sertion here, they exercised too important an influ- 
ence on the characters of those to whom they were 
addressed, for any part to be omitted. They kept 
alive the spiritual flame which hard, material strug- 
gles might otherwise have extinguished. To their 
loving encouragement and wise admonitions may be 
ascribed much of the faithful sacrifice, for Truth's 
sake, of the ensuing forty years. 


New York, 5th mo. 23d, 1812. 
I consider this a critical moment of your lives, my en- 
deared James and Lucretia, just, as it were, setting out in 
life. How important that you set out right, and with cor- 
rect views ! How needful that the secret, yet intelligent, 
whisperings of the voice that says, " This is the way, walk 
in it," be attended to on all occasions! We live in an age 
of trial and temptation, with many inducements to deviate 
from perfect rectitude, and many of these are to be found 



in our own society. But, my precious children, the solic- 
itude of my heart is, that you follow the example of none 
further than it affords peace and satisfaction to your own 
minds. Remember the language, " He that will be my 
disciple must deny himself, take up his daily cross, and fol- 
low me." These are the terms, and they will be made 
easy to those who cheerfully submit to them. He also 
said, " My yoke is easy, and my burden light." It is resig- 
nation that makes it so. May you experience this through 
life ; then whether prosperity shine upon you, or adversity 
be your lot, all will be well ; it will teach humility in the 
first, and contentment in the latter. 


Phila., 4th mo. 27th, 1813. 
... I have concluded to go to Ohio with our uncle May- 
hew Folger and family, who will leave in a few weeks. 
Lucretia stays with her father, to come out with him, if I 
should conclude to stay after getting there, which is uncer- 
tain, though probable. Considering all circumstances, I 
believe it will be best to follow this plan, and satisfy my- 
self as respects the country. My ideas are far from san- 
guine, but I hope we shall all be satisfied, and realize a 
comfortable living, which is all we can expect in the unset- 
tled state of affairs, and all we ought to be anxious for at 
any other time. 

It does not appear, however, that he ever took this 
journey, as his letters continue to date from Phila- 
delphia. They speak principally of family and busi- 
ness matters, and make frequent mention of the ac- 
complishments of his little daughter Anna, who was 
born on the sixth of 8th mo., 1812, in the house on 
Union Street. In the autumn of 1813 he says, "Our 
precious Anna grows finely, can speak a number of 


words, and we think will soon talk. She is sixteen 
months old." 

In the spring of 1814, thinking there might be 
an opening for him in the cotton-mill of his uncle, 
Richard Mott, at Mamaroneck, N. Y., James moved 
there with his family. While there, in the 7th mo., 
their second child, a son, was born, and named after 
his grandfather, Thomas Coffin. The expected open- 
ing proving delusive, the little family returned in the 
10th mo. to Philadelphia, where James found em- 
ployment in a wholesale plow store, at $600 a year. 
The following extract from Lucretia's letter to her 
" Mother Mott " gives an account of the journey. 
How different from the luxury of the " limited ex- 
press " of the present day ! 

" Our journey here was quite as comfortable as we 
could expect. We left the Hook about eight o'clk., found 
the roads pretty good till we got to Brunswick, where we 
dined ; from there to Trenton they were exceedingly rough, 
large stones having been laid where the holes used to be, 
and only two passengers beside ourselves, so that we were 
obliged to keep little Thomas well wedged in, that he need 
not be thrown against the side of the stage ; the pillow 
added much to his comfort and our convenience, as it ena- 
bled my James to hold him part of the time ; he was very 
quiet, slept most of the day, and was not out of the stage, 
except when we stopped to dine, until we arrived at Trenton 
at half past seven ; he was then put to bed immediately, 
and slept quietly all night. The steam boat was quite a 
relief, and we reached Phil, at 12 o'clk. the next day." 

The next letter makes the first mention of the 
subject with which they were so prominently con- 
nected through life. 




Phila., 1st mo. 27th, 1815. 

My dear Parents, — 

... A letter has been received from two persons in 
Charleston, S. C, directed to Friends of the city of Phil a , 
stating that Moses Bradley of their city had by will be- 
queathed six slaves to Friends of this city. A verbal com- 
mittee was nominated from all the monthly meetings to con- 
sider the subject, and they this week returned the letter to 
the mg s without making any report thereon, further than 
that they had met, and were of opinion that it involved seri- 
ous and important consideration. There was not much said 
upon it in m g . The subject was taken on minute, and com- 
mittees appointed to give it careful attention, and report. 1 
The clause in the will runs thus : " I bequeath to the So- 
ciety of Friends in Phil a my negro slaves (naming them), 
and appoint A. B. & C. D. to receive them in trust; the 
friends of humanity will understand this clause." 

The " Abolition Society " 2 have likewise lately received 
a like bequest of 40 slaves. It is a subject highly impor- 
tant, as it regards the testimonies that Friends have held 
up to the world, and involves considerations of no small 
magnitude to civil society. The more I view the subject, 
the more I see the necessity of Friends' acting with great 
caution and circumspection in it, adhering steadily and 
firmly to the principle. I feel undecided in my own mind. 
The opinions of Friends are various, but all agree in its 
importance, and some say that no subject has ever come 

1 Owing to the subsequent divisions and subdivisions of the Society, 
it has been impossible to find what was done in this case. — Ed. 

2 This Society must not be confounded with those later established in 
Philadelphia. This one was organized in April, 1775, and was called 
" The Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, the 
relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and for improving the 
conditions of the African race." Benjamin Franklin was its first pres- 
ident after its incorporation by the State in 1789. 




before the Society of equal interest. I cannot help believ- 
ing that much depends upon this case as regards the future 
situation of the blacks in the Southern States. I should 
like to have your sentiments upon this subject, and in return 
I will give you mine, when more matured than they are at 

Our family is in usual health ; we have very much neg- 
lected teaching our Anna, until within a few weeks ; she 
learns quickly, and begins to spell. 1 Little Thomas says 
many words, and will soon talk. 

"With much love to all the family. 

J A axes Mott, Jr. 

In 1815, early in the 2nd mo., Thomas Coffin died 
of typhus fever, after a short and distressing ill- 
ness, leaving his family poor, including James Mott, 
whom he had recently taken into partnership. Of 
this James Mott writes: "My business is suddenly 
changed ; I have now to settle the affairs of one 
whom I have tenderly loved, for whom I have felt 
a filial attachment, and upon whom I depended for 
advice and instruction. I feel a responsibility un- 
known before." 

Anna Coffin, finding herself poor, with several 
children dependent on her, opened a shop similar to 
the one she had kept in Nantucket, and was so suc- 
cessful in the undertaking, that James and Lucretia 
Mott concluded to make a like venture, and for that 
purpose hired a place in Fourth Street, near Arch ; 
but, owing to a general depression in business in the 
season following, they were obliged to sell out at 
considerable loss. To this the two next letters al- 

1 Two years and a half old ! 




Prila., 12th mo. 3rd, 1815. 

. . . How soon may all our fond hopes and fair pros- 
pects be blasted, and how necessary it is to live day by 
day serving our Maker! I think I have often felt desirous, 
particularly of latter time, to be found doing my duty, and 
filling my allotted station in life with some degree of propri- 
ety ; but the weakness of human nature is great, and trials 
inwardly and outwardly are hard to support. I have fre- 
quently thought of what Samuel Bettle told us a short time 
since, "that there never was a temptation without a pre- 
serving power near, which, if relied upon, would support." 
He (S. Bettle) has become a great preacher ; he speaks 
forcibly, reasons clearly, and addresses himself to the judg- 
ment, and often stands nearly an hour. 

Our shop-keeping business is rather dull, though I ap- 
prehend we do our part for new beginners, as it is a gen- 
eral complaint of dull times. I do not feel discouraged, 
and hope next season to make it answer pretty well. 
Mother's business has continued good, except for two 
weeks past it has slackened a little, but I have no doubt she 
will succeed, as her shop is becoming noted. I think a 
person without friends or money quite as likely to succeed 
in business in this city as in New York ; I have not much 
opinion of friendship in trade, for some of those who you 
might suppose would be willing to give their custom are 
the very ones that will avoid the shop. . . . 


New Hartford, 2d mo. 8th, 1818. 
My precious Anne writes me often ; and in her last let- 
ter inclosed yours of 12 th m° 31 st for my perusal, on read- 
ing which, my mind was awakened to various sensations by 
Lucretia's representation of your situation. Your gloomy 
prospects excite near sympathy, as well as anxious solici- 



tucle. In pursuing the path of duty, my dear children, 

reason not against clear convictions even in trifling, as well 
as more important concerns, though you may he led into a 
narrower path than some, whom you may prefer far before 
yourselves, are walking in. I crave that your obedience 
may so keep pace with clearly manifested duty, that you 
can adopt similar sentiments to good Joshua of old : " As 
for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." . . . I am 
far from wishing to point out any particular line of conduct 
for you ; this must be done by the unerring guide in your 
own bosoms, which will speak with greater and greater 
clearness, as you yield unreserved obedience thereto. Do 
not be discouraged, even if it lead you in some respects to 
do, or to leave undone, things that may seem as trying as 
parting with a right hand. 

May the trust in providential aid which James rejoices 
in being sensible of, so increase, that the comforting belief 
may arise, that even the present bitter cup will prove sal- 
utary, if properly received, is the sincere wish of your 


The " little shop on Fourth Street " proving in- 
sufficient, and its failure seriously affecting James 
Mott's health, he again tried his fortune in New- 
York, as clerk in a bank, leaving his wife and chil- 
dren in Philadelphia in her mother's family. Late 
in 1816 John Large of Philadelphia tendered him 
the office of book-keeper, and at the same time his 
wife wrote him the following letter, showing how 
strong was her desire that he should accept the offer, 
yet how ready she was to acquiesce in his judgment 
if he should decide against it : — 

... On hearing that thy present salary was $750, John 
Large immediately offered the same, and wished thee to 
come as soon as possible. Dr. M. says he has no doubt, if 



you agree, that he would give thee $1,000 before the year 
is out. On taking all things into consideration I don't 
know but it may be better for thee to embrace it ; the re- 
moval of our goods again will be attended with some ex- 
pense and breakage. We can continue with our mother 
without much expense, and perhaps something will offer 
for me to do in addition to th}*- salary. . . . 

Now after reading this and giving it further considera- 
tion, if thou shouldst conclude to come, I should be rather 
than else pleased : but if to stay, I shall rest satisfied with 
thy better judgment, and look forward with hope. 

. . . One thing I request, that whether thou come or 
stay, thou wilt write again immediately, that I may know 
whether to expect thee or not : remember, we decided 
that anticipated pleasures were the greatest. . . . Brother 
Thomas says he should not think thou would hesitate a 
moment about com s . ... I should not mind being thought 
changeable, if I were thee. 

The fear of "being thought changeable" weighed 
little with James Mott. He returned at once to 
Philadelphia, and wrote thus to his parents : — 

My friends tell me they are glad there is now a prospect 
of our continuing in Phila e . How we shall arrange mat- 
ters and affairs is not yet concluded. We are talking of 
taking a house and beginning house-keeping again, and Lu- 
cretia contemplates opening a school. She has conversed 
with a number of her friends on the subject. They tell 
her she must charge as much as $10 pr. quarter, and that 
she will have as many scholars as she wants. 

And again, 4th mo., 1st, 1817, he says : — 

. . . Lucretia and Rebecca Bunker commenced their 
school two weeks since ; the particulars of the rise, prog- 
ress, and present situation of it, I will leave for L. to give 
you ; and to allow her room to do so, will conclude my 



part with my most affectionate love to every branch of the 

Lucretia then adds as follows : — 

It will not occupy much room to give the account above 
mentioned. We began with four scholars at $7 per quar- 
ter, and have since added six : our present number is ten, 
and we have a prospect of considerable increase shortly. 
Our walk is long, and, as there are two sessions, we take 
our dinner with us ; but if we can get a large school, we 
shall not mind the long walk. . . . 

This school was under the care of Pine Street 
Monthly Meeting. Rebecca Bunker, the principal 
teacher, was the daughter of Anna Coffin's oldest 

Phila., 4th mo. 17th, 1817. 
My dear Parents, — How true is the saying, "In 
this world ye shall have tribulations " ! " Unsearchable are 
the ways of Providence, and past our finding out." We are 
the children of mourning, for it hath pleased the Almighty 
in his inscrutable wisdom to visit our habitation with the 
messenger of death, and take from us our darling little 
Thomas. . . . His disposition was the most affectionate ; 
he loved everybody, and all loved him. The last he said 
was, " I love thee, mother." ... It is a close trial ; it is 
hard to give him up, and say, " Thy will be done." . . . 
Lucretia has had symptoms of the same fever, but is better 
this morning, though very weak. 

Yours most affectionately, Jas. Mott, Jr. 


4th mo. 19th, 1817. 
... I wrote you on 5 th day last informing of the death 
of our darling Thomas, a loss we deeply feel, as he was a 
child possessing every qualification tending to endear him 
to us and all the family. His health for the past winter 



has been remarkably good ; he was active, fat, and rosy- 
cheeked ; but he is now gone ! and we must endeavor pa- 
tiently to bear the stroke, and with gratitude to bless the 
hand that gave it. Lucretia is better than when I last 
wrote ; she is about house, but very feeble. . . . 

The early death of this darling child, so full of 
rare promise, so loving and large-hearted, seemed al- 
most a crushing blow to his mother, whose health 
suffered seriously for a while in consequence. Under 
the solemn influence of this bereavement she was led 
into a deeper religious feeling, which finally ex- 
pressed itself in Friends' Meeting. To one of her 
descendants who asked her, in her old age, how it 
happened that she became a preacher in the Society, 
she said, with tears, even then, that her grief at the 
dear boy's death turned her mind that way, and 
after a small beginning, meeting with sympathy and 
encouragement, the rest was gradual and easy. 

At the close of the first year of book-keeping, 
John Large paid James Mott $1,000 instead of $750, 
the amount originally agreed upon, and offered a 
still further advance. It is to this circumstance that 
James Mott, Sr., alludes in the following letter : — 

10th mo. 24th, 1817. 
... I am pleased to hear of the generosity of James' 
employers. It is noble indeed ; more so than he had a 
right to expect, and I am glad to hear that Lucretia's 
school increases : their prospects cannot appear quite so 
gloomy to them as in time past. It affords me a heart- 
felt satisfaction in believing that they have profited by their 
trials and cross occurrences, and have been induced wisely 
to bend to the yoke that was declared to be easy. But I 
want them to bear in mind, that to make it easy there must 
be a steady continuance in cheerful submission to it. Then 



indeed may they expect to find it not only easy, but joy- 
ful. To this situation is the promise annexed, " All these 
things shall be added," — all necessary things. But, alas ! 
how difficult it is, without more resignation to manifested 
duty, and practicing a greater degree of self-denial than 
most of us are willing to yield to, even to determine, and 
much more to submit to, a way of living which requires 
only necessary things, while on every hand we see such in- 
dulgence of imaginary wants, even in those to whom we 
are looking up for instruction. 

That this precious couple may never suffer example to 
sway them from a line of conduct in every respect, which 
clear impressions on their own minds dictate to be right 
for them, is, and has oft been, the fervent wish of 

Their Grandfather. 

james mott, jr., to his parents. 

Phila., 12th mo. 14th, 1817. 
. . . Although I have had some other business proposals, 
it appears likely that we shall continue in this city at least 
for a time, as nothing as yet has appeared that is in my 
view a sufficient inducement to leave a place in which I 
have a certainty of obtaining a living, — the salary I now 
receive is a liberal one, $1,000 a year, and some prospect 
of an increase. John Large expects to sail for England in 
a few days, to be absent several months, and says he wishes 
me to continue in his store, and that if my salary is not 
enough to live on, he must give me more ; we shall come 
to an understanding before he leaves. If, however, there 
should not be anything said in relation thereto, and he 
should leave under the impression that I was to continue 
during his absence, I should most certainly .do so, because 
his conduct has been noble, and always gentlemanly, so 
that I have no fault to find with my situation, endeavor- 
ing sometimes to cultivate a disposition to be content with 
little. . . . 



Lucretia and Rebecca have now forty scholars, seven of 
whom are studying French. 


1st mo. 3rd, 1818. 

The perusal of two or three letters from my endeared 
grandchildren has so ripened the thought of writing to 
you, that I sit down this evening to put it in execution. I 
have never lost sight of a belief that your trials and gloomy 
prospects respecting a comfortable subsistence for your- 
selves and precious children would, if suffered to have 
their right and intended effect, terminate greatly to your 
advantage, both your temporal and spiritual advantage. 
You now see some things from a new point of view ; you 
see the need of greater watchfulness and circumspection, in 
order to fulfil the religious duty you desire to discharge. 
This belief rejoices my heart, and desires accompany that 
rejoicing, that you may so continue on the watch, that the 
way may appear more clear, and also that strength may be 
received whereby you may move from one experience to 
another, until like Israel of old, you can rejoice on the 
banks of deliverance. 

It is probable, in the present state of affairs in Society, 1 
as respects an unwarrantably expensive manner of living, 
particularly as regards furniture, that the cross must be 
taken up by you ; take it up cheerfully, and bear a noble 
testimony against the deviations from that moderation that 
characterized our early Friends, and which true humility 
still dictates. 

Your affectionate Grandfather. 

In the short autobiographical sketch alluded to 
before, Lucretia Mott, after summing up all their 
struggles and difficulties very briefly, says : " These 
trials in early life were not without their good ef- 

1 This seems to be an expression in use among Friends at that time. It 
always means the Society of Friends. 



feet in disciplining the mind, and leading it to set a 
just estimate on worldly pleasures." 

In the middle of 2nd mo., 1818, she gave up her 
position as teacher, " a young woman having been 
engaged by the committee to take her place," and 
about six weeks afterwards, Maria, their second 
daughter, was born. James Mott's business was 
prospering, and affairs were beginning to look a little 


Family letters necessarily form a large part of 
this biography. These letters contain frequent ref- 
erence to the various " meetings " of the religious 
society, of which James and Lucretia Mott were not 
only prominent, but influential members, and there- 
fore it is assumed that the following brief explana- 
tion will be of interest to the reader. 

The principal executive body of the Society of 
Friends is the Monthly Meeting, which is composed 
of one or more congregations at convenient distances 
from each other. These are styled Preparative Meet- 
ings, for the reason that they prepare business for 
the Monthly Meetings. Among other things, it is 
the duty of the latter to provide for the maintenance 
of poor members, and for the education of their 
children, and to judge of the fitness of persons who 
may wish to become members. 

A Quarterly Meeting is composed of several 
Monthly Meetings, and receives at stated periods 
statements concerning the maintenance of the testi- 
monies of the Society, and the care extended over 
the members. 

The Yearly Meeting has the general superintend- 
ence within the limits embraced by the several Quar- 
terly Meetings of which it is composed, gives its 
advice as circumstances may require, and institutes 
such rules as appear to be necessary. In accordance 



with the belief of Friends that women may be prop- 
erly called to the "work of the ministry," and that 
they should participate in the administration of the 
" Discipline," they have all these meetings of their 
own, held at the same time as those of men, but 

" For the preservation of all in unity of faith and prac- 
tice, . . . and as an exterior hedge of preservation against 
the temptations and dangers to which we are exposed, the 
. . . Rules of Discipline are adopted for the government of 
Friends, . . . with a view that in the exercise thereof the 
unfaithful, the immoral, and the libertine professors may 
he seasonably reminded of their danger, and of their duty ; 
. . . and that such as continue to reject the convictions of 
truth, and the counsel of their brethren, and refuse to be 
reclaimed, may be made sensible that they themselves are 
the sole cause of their separation from our religious fellow- 
ship and communion." 1 

It is the duty of Monthly Meetings to select from 
both sexes a few persons, who may be considered as 
qualified for the station, to serve as " Elders." These, 
together with " approved ministers," have a regularly 
organized meeting called " Meeting of Ministers and 
Elders," whose object it is to encourage each other 
in the performance of their respective duties, and to 
give advice and assistance to all who may need care 
and counsel. In the words of the "Discipline," 
" they are tenderly advised to watch over the flock 
in their respective stations, evincing by their pious 
example, in conduct and conversation, that they are 
faithfully devoted to support the testimonies of the 
blessed truth." 

The Society of Friends has no such ceremony as 

1 From the Introduction to the Rules of Discipline. 



that which in other religious bodies is called " ordi- 
nation." The nearest approach to it is that which 
is called " recommending ;" which is a formal ac- 
knowledgment by the several meetings that " a gift 
in the ministry has been committed to " him, or her, 
as the case may be. The " Discipline " reads, "Un- 
til the approbation of the Quarterly Meeting of 
Ministers and Elders is obtained, no such Friend is 
to be received as a minister, ... or permitted to 
appoint any meeting out of the limits of the Quar- 
terly Meeting to which he or she belongs, without a 
certificate from the Monthly Meeting for Discipline, 
or the concurrence thereof." In accordance with 
these regulations, the certificates, or " minutes," 
given by the Monthly Meeting to a Friend who may 
be moved to visit distant parts, are not merely ex- 
pressive of approbation or consent, but often bear 
evidence of the deep and earnest sympathy of the 
meeting that issues them. Generally they are signed 
by the clerks of both Men's and Women's Meetings ; 
but when they are given to ministers whose proposed 
mission extends beyond seas, they are signed by the 
clerks, and also by a number of the members. 

The public discourses delivered in the meetings of 
Friends are always extemporaneous ; written ser- 
mons being wholly unknown in the Society. They 
are voluntary offerings, and the preacher, no matter 
how extended the service, receives no compensation. 
During what may be called the probation of a min- 
ister, the discourse is generally short, and many ser- 
mons are valued more for their brevity than for their 
length. A clause in the " Discipline," in the " Queries 
for Ministers and Elders," reminds them to be " care- 
ful to avoid enlarging their testimonies so as to be- 



come burdensome." The exemplary daily life of 
Lucretia Mott, her dignified presence, her neat and 
correct style of expression, her freedom from the 
faults and peculiarities which too often attend the 
manner of preachers, together with the earnest sim- 
plicity which marked her public testimonies, soon 
caused her to be regarded as a most attractive speaker, 
and in a short time after she began to preach she was 
placed upon record as an " acknowledged minister." 
This gave her an enviable place in the best social 
circles of the Society. Every " appearance " in the 
exercise of her gift was hailed as the prophecy of in- 
creasing usefulness. In her discourses she dwelt 
upon the results of obedience to the Divine law, and 
urged the practical recognition of the leading doc- 
trine of the Society. 

In the year 1818, when she was twenty-five years 
of age, she spoke for the first time in public. This 
was in the form of a prayer; and sixty -one years 
later, when asked if she could recall the event, she 
replied by writing from memory, and without hesi- 
tation, the very words she had then spoken. This 
memorandum, now so valued by her family, reads 
as follows : — 


As all our efforts to resist temptation and overcome the 
world prove fruitless unless aided by thy Holy Spirit, ena- 
ble us to approach thy throne, to ask of Thee the blessing 
of thy preservation from all evil, that we may be wholly 
devoted to Thee, and thy glorious cause. 

5th mo. 10th, 1879. 

At the time when she first entered the ministry, 
the Society of Friends was to outward appearance 
a united body. There were, however, to a greater 



or less degree, jealousies and misgivings, especially 
amongst those who constituted the u Select Meetings," 
or " Meetings for Ministers and Elders," but these 
were kept secret as far as possible, and were spoken 
of only in the presence of the chosen few. It was 
the beginning of that disaffection which, nine years 
later, culminated in the separation of the Society, of 
which further mention will be made in a succeed- 
ing chapter. For several years, Lucretia Mott took 
no part in the controversy, but was more interested 
in preaching the cardinal principles of Friends than 
in examining the differences in their interpretation. 
It was not until after her husband had left the Or- 
thodox meeting, that she fully realized the impor- 
tance of the issue at stake. 

James Mott, while in close sympathy with his 
wife's ministry, took no prominent part himself in the 
Society ; but being a man of sterling integrity and 
sound judgment, his counsel was often sought, partic- 
ularly in the " meetings for business." In these he 
was a frequent speaker, expressing himself clearly and 
concisely, and carrying much weight with his hear- 
ers ; but in the " meetings for worship," his voice was 
rarely heard while he was a young man. Later in 
life, he sometimes felt called to address the young 
people, but he was never much of a preacher. 

The family correspondence from 1818 down to 
1823 is so full and frequent, that a simple reproduc- 
tion of the more important part of it makes superflu- 
ous any further attempt at detail. 

The first letter is from James Mott, Sr., to Adam 
and Anne Mott, 10th mo. 15th, 1818. 

. . . Thy extract from James' letter rejoiced my heart. 
What a comfort to you, such accounts from a beloved son 



must be. Two scripture passages struck me forcibly as I 
read it : "I never saw the righteous forsaken," — but still 
more, " Seek first the kiDgdom of God and his righteous- 
ness, and all these things shall be added unto you." How 
wisely they have adopted this injunction, and how fully is 
the promise verified to them ! May they persevere in faith- 
ful dedication to Him who is thus opening the way to re- 
ligious duty, and blessing with not barely the necessaries of 
life, but the comforts and conveniences thereof ! 

When you write them, give my love affectionately to 

. . . How does Lucretia come on in the preaching 
line? . . . 


Phila., 1st mo. 24th, 1819. 
I have been so negligent of late with my pen, that I 
feel almost unable to express an idea in this way ; but the 
many kind acts of remembrance and interest in our welfare, 
manifested towards us in an epistolary way, by our dear 
grandfather, having been, I trust, gratefully received by 
us, I have thought some acknowledgment of the same 
due from us ; and not having succeeded in my endeavors 
to convince my J. M. that this was exclusively his province, 
I have made an attempt myself. . . . Although in re-pe- 
rusing some of thy former letters, the excellent advice 
therein contained may be compared (as respects myself) 
to " bread cast upon the waters," yet I tremblingly hope 
the time is approaching when it may be found. Still my 
want of faith is such, that in looking at the high profession 
we are making, and the terms of admission into the King- 
dom, I am ready at times to shrink, and to cry out with 
the disciples formerly, " Who then can be saved ; " and the 
many instances of late, of departure from the simplicity of 
Quakerism as respects trade, with the consequent embar- 
rassment attendant thereon, and that too in some from 
whom we have looked for better things, add not a little to 



the discouraging side of the prospect. I know the " diffi- 
culty of the times " stands chargeable with it all, and we 
must charitably conclude that it has a share in it, still we 
cannot believe the requisition, " do justly," to have been 
made, and the power of compliance withheld. What then 
must be the conclusion ? I am sensible, however, I have 
sufficient within to correct, without " fretting myself be- 
cause of evil-doers ; " and I hope by " studying to be quiet 
and doing my own business," to be enabled to leave the 
pronouncing of judgment to Him who will do it righteous- 
ly, and not according to the appearance of man. 

A few tracts accompany this, forwarded by Win. Merritt, 
who has spent a few days with us, and is, we think, a very 
fine young man, and a warm advocate for Elias Hicks ; 
many Friends this way not being prepared to unite with 
him altogether, in his views on some subjects. Dost thou 
agree in sentiment with him, respecting spreading the Scrip- 
tures and the First-day of the week. 

Elizabeth Walker has had much to say to-day at Arch 
St. m s , — we were not there. Her daughter's appearance 
is very much altered since she was at Nine-Partners School. 
She looks rather smart for a companion to a travelling 
Friend ; but is there not danger of our placing too much 
stress on externals, and of becoming justly chargeable with 
the faults of the Scribes and Pharisees ? 

With much affection, in which my James cordially unites, 
I conclude. Ltjcretia. 


New York, 2nd mo., 6th, 1819. 
I duly received my much loved Lucretia's welcome let- 
ter, and am glad to find that mine has been acceptable to 
her. ... I regret with thee the sorrowful departure from 
strict justice, in the mode and manner of doing business, 
which is too evidently practiced by some, and it is to be 



feared, not a few under our name. What is the cause 
of this deviation ? Is it not the unlawful love of gain ? 
and does it not, more than the indulgence of any other 
wrong propensity, tend to eclipse the brightness and beauty 
of real Quakerism ? I fear it does. It seems to me an in- 
creasing evil. Alas ! for myself, and alas ! for us as a So- 
ciety, is sometimes the arising language. Thy conclusion 
on the subject is a correct one, to "study to be quiet and 
do our own business ; " but probably a part of that business 
may be for thyself and many others, who bewail the evil, to 
put forth a hand, some in one way, and some in another, to 
forward that Christian mode of doing business which our 
principles dictate. 

Thou queries whether I unite in sentiment with Elias 
Hicks with respect to " spreading the Scriptures, and the 
First-day of the week." I am in this respect an old-fash- 
ioned Quaker, in believing that the Scriptures have a just 
claim of superior excellence to all other writings ; for this 
reason I wish the whole world might have the privilege of 
perusing them, and I rejoice at the endeavors used to spread 
them far and wide. . . . We have grounds to hope that the 
time will come, that righteousness will prevail, and purity 
of intention so regulate the movements of mankind, that 
there may be no occasion for setting aside one day in seven 
for a cessation from worldly concerns, as they will then be 
done to the glory of the great Supreme. When this comes 
to be the prevailing trait in people's character, then per- 
haps the observance of one day in seven for rest and retire- 
ment may be dispensed with ; but at present I am not pre- 
pared for it. 

Again, thou queries whether there is not danger of plac- 
ing too much stress on externals, and thereby becoming 
justly chargeable with the faults of the Scribes and Phari- 
sees ? Doubtless we are liable to slide into the same error 
they did, and without question many have, by getting into 
an extreme as to cut, colour, and make of clothes, and what 



they call " plainness " in other things. The great point is to 
keep in Christian moderation in these and all other things. 
Plainness in appearance may be strictly observed by some 
who are unacquainted with the spirit of plainness. . . . On 
the whole, I am induced to believe that in the present time 
of almost unbounded liberty, and unwarranted deviation 
from the simplicity our principles inculcate, there is little 
room to fear, that extremes in plainness will so prevail as 
to do as much harm, as the present evident departure from 
it. I sincerely wish both extremes might be avoided. . . . 

Encouraged by such straightforward teaching, 
James and Lucretia Mott were enabled to continue 
in a manner of living befitting both their circum- 
stances and their principles, although surrounded by 
many temptations to luxury. They were too rigidly 
" plain " for a time ; but that phase soon passed by, 
and they learned to follow their grandfather's wise 
advice, " to avoid both extremes." Economy and 
plainness were necessary, for their means were lim- 
ited ; indeed, they were only barely outside the mis- 
erable estate of poverty. They were obliged to be 
careful of their pennies, in a way that is seldom seen 
in this lavish day. This is shown with quaint sim- 
plicity by James Mott's writing emphatically to his 
father, under date of 3rd mo. 2nd, 1819, to " answer 
this letter by mail, to inform us of the health of our 
mother ; the expense is trifling, now that I have 
money of my own to pay it." 


3rd mo. 12th, 1819. 
. . . My husband has been quite down cellar lately ; I 
don't know the cause ; for though he is acknowledged to be 
" head and shoulders above his brethren" yet he is often 



complaining of his littleness and leanness ; so if our dear 
grandfather, or any of the rest of you, have anything to 
bring out of your " treasury, either new or old," for his en- 
couragement, please produce it. 


Phila., 7th mo. 6th, 1819. 
Our dear Parents, — As there was nothing in your 
last that required an immediate answer, we have delayed 
answering, seeing we have concluded to save all the six- 
pences for a certain purpose ; and I shall be glad when a 
sufficient quantity is accumulated, which need not be as 
much as it would have taken three years ago. Farms in 
Lancaster and Chester counties, that would have brought 
$200 pr. acre, are now selling at from $50 to $80, and the 
very best farms in the State. . . . Happy is the man who 
has a good farm clear of debt, and therewith content, and 
does not know how to write his name ! A person thus sit- 
uated knows little of the anxiety attendant upon a mercan- 
tile life, when perhaps the hard earnings of many anxious 
days and sleepless nights are swept away by failures and 
losses on almost every hand. I say let those who have 
been brought up in the country, stay there. ... I have 
been taking an account of my property, and find myself 
worth between $600 and $700 in money, and owe not more 
than $10 to my knowledge, so that I do not fear imme- 
diate want. . . . 

Late in the year 1818, Lucretia Mott accompanied 
Sarah Zane, a minister in the Society of Friends, 
in a religious visit to Virginia. They travelled in 
Sarah Zane's private carriage, and together attended 
many meetings. In one of her letters, Lucretia Mott 
refers to this trip as follows : — 

12th mo. 15th, 1819. 
I have not many fine traveller's stories to relate. We 
took the direct road to Winchester, and after a pleasant 



journey of six days, arrived safely, having met with one ac- 
cident, the breaking of our axle-tree, which detained us a 
few hours. The country through which we passed was most 
of it under fine cultivation, and in some places, particu- 
larly near Harper's Ferry, the scenery was romantic. We 
met with many clever Friends in and near Winchester. 
Sarah Zane's principal object in going was to attend their 
meeting in a new house that was built upon a lot she had 
purchased for them. She has interested herself for Friends 
there. It was the time for their Quarterly M g at Hopewell, 
six miles from Winchester, which we attended, and there 
met with Edward Stabler and wife, and many others. He 
is one of the very interesting men. We lodged at the same 
house, and sat up very late to hear him talk. The sight of 
the poor slaves was indeed affecting : though in that neigh- 
borhood, we were told their situation was rendered less de- 
plorable, by kind treatment from their masters. 

We returned by the same route through Fredericktown, 
York, Lancaster, etc., and reached home after a little less 
than three weeks' absence. 

We cannot but regret that she found no more to 
record of an experience so novel, and undoubtedly so 
full of interest ; more especially as in after years the 
familiar " When I went to Virginia with Sarah 
Zane," was often a prelude for some incident just 
then occurring to her. But writing was an effort to 
her, even in those early days, and she was curiously 
lacking in that perception of outward things that in 
most persons is an incentive to narration. A drive 
was to her little more than a rather uncomfortable 
kind of locomotion, which pleasant company might 
make endurable, and she would have passed through 
the most romantic scenery absorbed in thought or 
conversation, unless she was told what to admire. 



Once, during a drive near Philadelphia, her compan- 
ion called her attention to a fine view. "Yes," she 
said, " it is beautiful, now that thou points it out, 
but I should not have noticed it. I have always 
taken more interest in human nature." And, an- 
other time, when travelling in England, she wished 
some one would tell her what to admire ! 

A sufficient reason for James Mott's state of dis- 

; couragement, as manifested in his letters, was the 
failure of John Large, in whose store he was em- 
ployed. It being necessary for him to find something 
else to do, he engaged in the cotton commission busi- 

| ness with a friend. About this time his mother, 
Anne Mott, writes to him as follows : — 

... I have thought, frequently, how James got along 
with what he was once convinced was not consistent with 
justice, the use of West India produce, particularly when 
lately, on Long Island, the great and good Elias 1 pleaded 
the cause of the oppressed with such powerful, persuasive 
eloquence, that I thought all who heard him must be con- 
vinced of the necessity of clearing their own hands of this 
load of guilt. My dear son was then brought very feelingly 
into view; and when I reviewed his former sentiments on 
this subject, I could but earnestly desire he might not be 
warped by example, persuaded by false reasoning, or de- 
J terred by ridicule, from obeying faithfully his own convic- 
tions. I am sensible it will be more trying to stem the 
torrent of custom and opinion in your part of the country, 
than in this, for the unwearied labor of an individual has 
spread much light amongst us on this subject, which you 
have not had. But surely this will not be a sufficient ex- 
cuse for those who are convinced of the impropriety of the 
practice. Every reformation has been brought about by 
individual faithfulness, and this subject must certainly gain 
1 Elias Hicks. 



ground, as light and knowledge spread. May my dear 
child therefore not shrink from the trial, should he believe 
it right to set an example by endeavoring to supply his 
family with such articles as can be procured untinged 
with slavery. 


Skaneateles, 1st mo. 6th, 1820. 
A few days ago* I received a well-filled sheet from my 
precious grandchildren, James and Lucretia ; it was fraught 
with a good deal of news and interesting conversation. It 
is very pleasing to such an old man to be thought of by his 
connexions, and that thought manifested in the way yours 
has been. . . . James informs that he is about entering 
into a commission business ; a safe one, where too much 
advances are not required. I wish him success in that, or 
whatever he may undertake for a support, and I doubt not 
but he will be blest in his undertakings, if he continues not 
to wish for great things ; and both of you are satisfied to 
continue to live in a plain manner. When my mind is 
turned toward you, which is not seldom, how oft does the 
desire arise, that you may be the dedicated children of Him 
who was " an example for us to follow," open to receive 
his instructions, and fully bent upon following them. Then 
I believe you may with some assurance look for James' 
wish to be granted : t; I should like to be comfortable and 
a little to spare." But should he get into business that af- 
fords a great deal to spare, then be on your guard, that a 
right use is made of this surplus. 


Phila., 2nd mo. 2nd, 1820. 

My dear Mother, — A few of the members of this 
district have in contemplation to form a society for the 
relief of the poor, somewhat similar to your Fragment So- 
ciety. They have asked me to write to thee on the subject. 


Any information thou mayst judge useful to us will be ac- 
ceptable ; and if it is not asking too much, I should like to 
have a copy of your constitution. We expect to begin in 
a very small way ; not because the objects of charity are 
few, for the sufferings of the poor were never greater here 
than at the present time ; but our power of relief is so 
limited, that an attempt is almost discouraging ; we are, 
however, going to try what can be done. James is engaged 
this week at the soup-house; they ha^ve handed out to 
many, who have heretofore been in comfortable circum- 
stances. Thou wilt oblige me by answering the foregoing 
questions, so that the letter will reach me before our next 
meeting — early next week. 

Affectionately, L. Mott. 

James adds as follows : — 

I have within a few weeks thought I should like to be 
rich, not to hoard it up, but to relieve the necessities of 
my suffering fellow-creatures ; for many there are in our 
city, who are in want of food to sustain life. I have some- 
times felt deterred from visiting them, for want of ability 
to give much relief ; for what is more affecting, or more 
humbling, than to see helpless children crying around an 
emaciated mother for bread ? To attempt a description of 
my feelings in witnessing such scenes would be impossible, 
and indeed to you, unnecessary, for you can realize it. It 
has, however, one effect which may be useful, to make me 
number my blessings and be thankful that I have food and 
raiment. As this comes to be the case, a disposition that 
I have sometimes felt of repining at my lot, will be done 
away ; and that it may be, I do at such seasons much de- 
sire. With much love to all, Jas. Mott, Jr. 


Phil., 3rd mo. 4th, 1820. 
I am once more safely at home : left the Hook quarter 
after seven, in company with six others; breakfasted at 



Elizabeth-town ; dined at Trenton, and arrived in Phil a at 
nine ; the last thirty miles we came in four hours, including 
stoppages. . . . 

Lucretia is very much discouraged about continuing a 
member of the " Fragment Soc y ." One reason she gives 
is, that with her limited means she can easily do all in her 
power to relieve the necessities of others, without associat- 
ing in a society for the purpose : another reason is, and a 
much stronger one, in my opinion, that most of the conver- 
sation at the several meetings they have had has not been 
very interesting, or instructive ; being too much of what is 
called gossip. 

Business is extremely dull, and I fear it will not be much 
better very soon. Much love, J. Mott, Jr. 


Phil., 6th mo. 18th, 1820. 
My dear Parents, — Your very acceptable letter of 
the 11 th inst. is rec d . We should have been glad to have 
a more detailed account of your Yearly M g , which I under- 
stand was an interesting one, and had Lucretia and self only 
our inclinations to consult, we should have added to your 
number. The conduct of your men's meeting in appoint- 
ing a committee to visit the subordinate m gs , without con- 
sulting the women, or letting them know it, to me appears 
strange, and I doubt the rectitude of the step ; because if 
the thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well, and 
in the present mode it will not be any more than half done. 
The distinction that is made in the power of the men's and 
women's m gs for discipline in our Society, I never could 
understand, and believe it will be found to be derived from 
an opinion prevalent with the "people of the world," that 
a woman should not be suffered to speak in the church. 
Professing as we do that male and female are one in Christ, 
under the influence of whose spirit I presume it will be 
acknowledged our meetings for discipline were formed, and 


ought to be conducted, how can it be doubted that labour 
for the good of the body must be done by the whole head ; 
if one half the body is sound and needs no physician, it is 
then probable that the labour of your men, as it will be 
with half only, will be with that half which is sick. I be- 
lieve as we become more enlightened and civilized, this 
difference will be done away, and the women will have an 
equal voice in the administration of the discipline. . . . Busi- 
ness is poor. I would give a premium to be insured $800 
annually. With love, James Mott, Jr. 

To which his more hopeful wife adds : — 
James need not be so discouraged ; I do not think his 
prospects are so gloomy as he feels, nor do I like to be dis- 
heartened before I am obliged to. We do not aspire to 
the laying up of much treasure. We are endeavoring to let 
our wants be as few as possible, and I trust, as we " seek 
not great things," that all we really need will be supplied. 
. . . Pine St. Monthly Meeting is preparing a memo- 
rial concerning our dear deceased friend, Hannah Fisher. 
The family are opposed to it, though I do not know why. 
I have thought if the example of any human being could 
be held up to others, none could be more properly than 

With much love to every branch of the family, 



New York, 5th mo. 7th, 1820. 
... I am far from wishing that we should receive every- 
thing we hear said in the gallery, 1 or elsewhere, for truth ; 
if what is said accords with our judgments, let us carefully 
put it in practice ; if it does not, let us lay it aside, and 
pursue what is clearly manifested: thus we shall surely 
know what is necessary for us to know. I very much wish 

1 Meaning the raised seat where the Ministers and Elders sit in Friends' 



that thou and thy Lucretia may in all you do, feel justified, 
your own minds perfectly satisfied, let others say or think 
what they may. Peace within will support under much 
censure from without. I am not about to point out to you 
this, that, or the other thing that you ought to do or leave 
undone ; but let me say, and say it emphatically, " keep a 
conscience void of offense." 


8th mo. 23rd, 1821. 

I love plain preaching that is calculated to lead the 
hearers to practical religion ; I wish more of our preaching 
was such, instead of so much speculation, and diving into 
subjects beyond human investigation, and endeavoring to 
explain mysteries that ever will remain mysteries, while 
man is clothed with mortality. How often are Scripture 
passages turned and twisted, and even the authenticity of 
them called in question, in order to establish a favorite 
opinion, and a mere opinion after all ; which if it gains be- 
lief has no tendency to increase vital religion any more 
than a contrary belief, which others have endeavored to en- 
force by explaining Scripture directly opposite. 

I fear the consequences of such kind of preaching, if 
preaching it can be properly called. Its tendency on the 
minds of young people will, I think, naturally be to lead 
them into unprofitable inquiries, and thus divert them from 
the necessary attention to the plain precepts of the Scrip- 
tures, and secret inward manifestations of duty, which, if 
attended to, would guide them safely along. 

How desirable that our ministers might be so attentive 
to their gifts and callings, that what they deliver for gospel 
ministry might be such indeed ! Was it all such in reality, 
would not the effects produced be more evident ? 




Phila., 1st mo. 13th, 1822. 
My dear Parents, — Your acceptable letter of 10 th 
inst. was received this morning. ... I suppose you would 
like to know the result of my year's business. It is thus : 
my profits have been $2,693, and I have spent in the 
same time $982 ; leaving a realized balance of $1,711, 
with which I am satisfied. ... I am sick of "contending 
for opinions." I believe I have generally been willing to 
suppose that those from whom I might differ were at least 
as likely to be right as myself ; to call in question motives 
for conduct, I have always conceived to be dangerous and 
improper, and hoped to guard against it ; and as regards 
the excitement among us, I am willing to go further, and 
say that I believe those who have opposed our " great and 
good Elias " did it with good intentions, and with sincere 
desires to support the testimonies of our Society in their 
primitive simplicity ; yet I may have my own opinion in 
relation to the steps they have thought proper to take. . . . 
I consider our Discipline a most admirable code, beyond the 
wisdom of man in his own will to have formed, yet I be- 
lieve that in the progressive improvement of our Society, 
alterations, additions, and omissions ought to be made. . . . 
Our children enjoy good health ; their parents cannot be- 
lieve but that they are quite equal to most other children. 
Anna has been very steady at school, and we think im- 
proves cleverly. With love, J. M., Jr. 


Phila., 5th mo. 10th, 1822. 
My dear Grandfather, — ... George Withy ap- 
pointed a meeting on Third-day last for young persons be- 
tween the ages of twelve and twenty-five ; but he was 
silent, except a few words of what might not improperly be 



called scolding, because some persons attended not of this 
class. The house was not full. 

To this there is added a postscript by Lucretia 
Mott, in which she says : — 

John Cox and wife left the city yesterday. John gave 
us excellent advice at meeting, cautioning us against run- 
ning after the " Lo, heres ! " I imagine some present 
thought they had been so doing, when they were sent empty 
away from the meeting appointed by George Withy. It 
was mostly composed of the class invited, and as there 
were vacant seats for many more than attended, it was 
thought by some that he should better have made the best 
of it, as his remarks caused some unsettlement, and several 
left the meeting. He had a meeting in Burlington to-day. 
He would be more popular here if he had said less to the 
people for " staring" at him when preaching; and perhaps 
it would not be amiss for some of your Elders to remind 
him that when Jesus rose to expound the Scriptures, the 
eyes of all in the Synagogue were fastened on him, and 
for aught we know they were unreproved. But far be it 
from me improperly to touch the Lord's anointed ! 

We hope our beloved grandfather will continue to write 
to us occasionally. I may acknowledge his letters have 
oft-times proved " a word in season." 

Very affectionately, Lucretia. 


Phil., 6th mo. 29th, 1822. 

I believe our beloved grandparent promised to write to 
us, if we would let him know whether we reached home in 
safety ; and that information having been conveyed by let- 
ter to our parents, we may now, I think, reasonably expect 
a fulfilment of his promise. 

I have hardly sufficient by me at this time to warrant my 
taking the pen. I have re-perused thy book on Education 



since our return, and hope its instructive contents will be 
usefully remembered by me. 

We are now engaged in reading " Southey's Life of Wes- 
ley, with the Rise and Progress of Methodism." An inter- 
esting work, though some parts we thought might have been 
omitted, such as the supernatural appearances. The author 
appears as much attached to the doctrines of the Episco- 
pal Church, as some of us Quakers are to ours. I was 
pleased with the rule laid down for Wesley, by his mother, 
to enable him to judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness 
of pleasure, which is as follows : " Whatever weakens your 
reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures 
your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things ; 
in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of 
your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, how- 
ever innocent it may be in itself." 

Cannot you enlightened ones set us a good example by 
making some improvement in the Discipline relative to out- 
goings in marriage ? 1 Our meeting has lately disowned two 
daughters of Rebecca Paul, a minister, on that account, and 
last month a complaint was entered against their mother 
for " conniving " at it. Her son was present at the mar- 
riage, so that probably four of the family will lose their 
right of membership. One of the young men requested to 
be received as a member, after he was engaged to be mar- 
ried. This was not granted. Rebecca is a poor widow who 
has had to make exertion for the support of her family. 
She told the overseers that clever young men appearing for 
her daughters, and considering that she had nothing to offer 
them if they stayed with her, she could not hold them, and 
should feel too much like an Ananias to sit under a com- 

1 "If a member of our Society shall marry one not in membership with 
us . . . and it shall appear to the monthly meeting that the testimony of 
Truth require it, he is to be disowned." " Monthly meetings are author- 
ized to give forth testimonies of denial against such parents or guardians 
who consent to, connive at, or encourage the marriages of their children 
and those under their care, contrary to the good order established amongst 
us." — Rules o f Discipline. 



plaint against them, stating " without the consent of their 
mother." It has been what Friends call " a trying case." 
Last week a young couple were disowned who married, 
being first cousins. What is to be done in such cases ? 

The opportunity we have had of being again with our 
revered grandfather, and many others very dear to us, is a 
subject of grateful recollection. We still indulge the hope 
of seeing thee in this city. 

Affectionately, Lucretia. 


New York, 7th mo. 26th, 1822. 

With thy letter I received the book of holyday poetry ; 
a pretty composition ; I wish we were all as liberally 
minded as the writer. But some are so tenacious of the 
observance of the Sabbath, that they seem disposed at least 
to set a black mark against those who do not deem it so 
obligatory ; while on the other hand, some of these latter 
brand the former with bigotry. Is not that sterling virtue, 
charity, getting a little out of date with us ? . . . 

I freely own, I am not enlightened enough to form a 
rule " relative to outgoings in marriage," even to suit my- 
self, much less to suit others. It is something that calls 
as loudly for that wisdom which is from above, as any ar- 
ticle in the Discipline. It is wrong now, but how to make 
it right, wiser heads than mine are required. 


Phila., 12th mo. 15th, 1822. 

My dear Parents, — We have your acceptable letters, 
conveying the pleasing intelligence of your good health, 
which we also are all favored with. 

Our dear friend Elias Hicks is now in the city, engaged 
in visiting families in Green St. Mo. Ms. I suppose you 
will hear a good deal about various circumstances that have 
transpired since he was in this place : some true, and some 
untrue. Previous to Elias' coming to the city, it was 



rumored that he had advanced some unsound doctrine at 
the Southern Quarterly m s . ... It proceeds from an un- 
justifiable prejudice, founded I apprehend upon little else 
better than the vague report of some, and the envy of 
others. My opinion is that Elias is as sound in the essen- 
tial doctrines of Christianity as any among us ; and of what 
consequence is it if he should differ from some of us in 
minor points, mere matters of opinion, in which he may s 
be correct, and we incorrect ; certainly not of sufficient con- * 
sequence to make it necessary to call him to account, es- 
pecially when he is travelling in discharge of his ministerial 
duty, with the approbation of his Mo. and Quar. m gs . I 
consider this an attempt for stretch of power on the part 
of our Elders, which I hope will never be countenanced 
by the Society: if it should be, we should soon have arti- 
cles of faith to which our ministers must subscribe. This 
however I believe will never be the case. I think there is 
a spirit of persecution afloat, and I cannot remain neutral 
in my feelings, nor altogether in my words and actions : 
yet I most sincerely desire to be preserved from this spirit, 
in thought, word, or deed ; and that the uninterrupted har- 
mony that has prevailed in our society in this city may not 
be broken or impaired, which is much more to be feared 
than any injurious effects from Elias' doctrines or opinions. 

Elias expressed to me the day he came to the city, that 
he had never performed a journey so much to his own 
peace, and, so far as he knew, to the satisfaction of his 
friends, as the present. All his public communications 
with us have borne the stamp of divine authority, and the 
humble Christian spirit which has shone conspicuously in 
the trials and sufferings he has met with here, evince that 
he is a man of God. 

I have always considered the visiting of families a ser- 
vice which required a closer attention to the pointings of di- 
vine wisdom than any other (if we can make a difference), 
as being more likely to be influenced by outward observa- 



tion ; yet. when properly gone into, more likely to be use- 
ful than general visits. 

Our children attend school steadily, and enjoy uninter- 
rupted health. With much love to all, I am affectionately, 

Jas. Mott, Jr. 

james mott to his parents. 

Phil., 12th mo. 29th, 1822. 
Although no acknowledgment of my late letter has been 
received, yet, as no etiquette is, or ought to be observed 
in our correspondence, I again allow myself the pleasure 
of writing to you. Most of my last was respecting the oc- 
currences in this city in relation to our worthy friend Elias 
Hicks ; and as he has now left us, I can finish the narra- 

The Elders . . . had several conferences by themselves, 
and after a week sent Elias a letter, in which they stated 
the unsound doctrines that had been advanced by him last 
spring in N. Y., as asserted by Joseph Whitall ; and at the 
Southern Quarterly m g , a few weeks since, as asserted by 
Ezra Comfort. The charges were in substance that he de- 
nied the divinity of Jesus Christ. In the letter his own 
expressions were given, and marked as such. They also 
stated that endeavors had been used to have a conference 
with him, but not being able to obtain one that was satis- 
factory, they had taken this method of informing him that 
they could not unite with such doctrines, or with his pro- 
ceedings. To this communication Elias replied, that as it 
related to the charge made by J. Whitall, he nor they had 
anything to do with it, it being an expression made use of 
while at his own Yearly m g , and among his friends, who 
were the only persons that could call him to account at 
that time ; and as none of them had expressed any dissat- 
isfaction, but, on the contrary, many had expressed their 
unity with his exercises, and his Monthly and Quarterly 
m gs had since granted him certificates, he concluded they 

82 James "and lucretia mott. 

were not dissatisfied with any communication he had made. 
With respect to the charge of E. Comfort, part he ad- 
mitted to be in substance correct, but most of it incorrect 
and misrepresented. This letter was accompanied with a 
certificate of three Friends, members of the m g , one of 
whom, an Elder who happened to be in the city, stating 
what the substance of his expressions was. I have made 
this statement of these communications from only one 
hasty perusal of the papers, and perhaps it may not be ex- 
actly correct, but I believe it is. Thus has ended this very 
unpleasant and trying affair. ... I am strongly inclined 
to the hope that the effects will not be injurious, but, on 
the contrary, advantageous to Society in this city. The 
Elders who acted in this business had not much personal 
knowledge of Elias, but grounded their proceedings upon 
the representation of others. Elias attended eleven meet- 
ings in the city, and in all of them had much to say, but 
in each one, nothing could be found to object to. Had 
there been, it would have been eagerly taken hold of, as 
every expression was watched ; and not being able to find 
fault with what he did say, he was censured for not say- 
ing what his opposers said he ought to. 

The letter to Elias was signed by ten Elders ; four oth- 
ers could not unite with the proceedings of their brethren, 
and one was sick. I am confirmed in the opinion expressed 
in my last, that Elias is sound in the essential doctrines of 
Quakerism and Christianity ; and the great opposition to 
him arises, in some, from a difference in sentiment on 
minor and unimportant subjects ; and in others, from tra- 
dition in themselves ; a striking instance of the influence of 
which occurred in our last Mo. m g , by disowning Eebecca 
Paul, a minister and poor widow, for assenting to the mar- 
riage of her daughter to a man, not a member of Society, 
but a professor, and in every respect a suitable connexion. 
I say that this honest-hearted, good woman is sacrificed to 
superstition and tradition. 



Lucretia Mott adds as follows : — 

Jnuies' last letter was finished and sent when I was from 
home, but from what he told me he then wrote, added to 
the above, I judge you have a pretty full account of the 
transactions of some Friends in this city in regard to Elias, 
and it may not be necessary for me to add much. I have 
been pleased to observe a disposition to prevail among a 
large majority to hear and judge for themselves. We have 
been much in his company, and find him the same consist- 
ent, exemplary man that he was many years ago ; and I 
believe the criterion still remains, that " the tree is known 
by its fruit." We had a very, pleasant visit from him, and 
dined in company with him at Dr. Moore's, who has had 
independence enough to remain his fast friend. An Elder 
of Green St. M s . accompanied him in his family visits, 
and expressed much or entire satisfaction ; as did many 
others. When he was about leaving the city, Hannah L. 
Smith expressed a belief that He who had delivered him 
in six troubles, would not forsake him in the seventh, but 
that the language of his heart would be, " Return unto thy 
rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with 
thee ; " after which, in a very broken manner, he desired 
to commemorate the loving kindness of our gracious Crea- 
tor, in that He had been with him, and followed him from 
meeting to meeting. I never saw such crowded meetings 
as those on First-days were ; and very solemn sittings. 

In love, L. Mott. 


New York, 2nd mo. 1823. 

Such is the failure of my recollection that I cannot say 
when I wrote to my precious James and Lucretia last. . . . 

How oft and anxious has been the arising wish that we 
might be preserved from so unprofitably spending our time 
in perplexities about speculative opinion upon incompre- 



hensible subjects, to the neglect of clearly manifested duty. 
Is love, that badge of discipleship, ever increased thereby ? 
Is it not frequently much lessened ? This is a melancholy 
fact as respects some members in this city ; and if reports 
are true, not much less in your city. The expression of 
our Saviour sometimes occurs to me, " These are but the 
beginning of sorrows." 

How much better it would be for those who have suf- 
fered themselves to get into a spirit of contending about 
opinions, could they have felt and seen as John Wesley did, 
when he said, " We may die without the knowledge of . 
many truths, and yet be carried into Abraham's bosom ; 
but if we die without love, what will knowledge avail ? " 
Well might' this great man call opinions " frothy food." 
Therefore, dear James and Lucretia, your aged grandpa- 
rent, who tenderly loves you, greatly desires your firm es- 
tablishment on religious ground ; that you know what is 
required of you, and be favored with strength to perform it. 
Stand open to hear and obey the inward calls to duty, but 
shut your ears to what this, or that, party would whisper 
into them. Let party business alone, meddle not with it, 
but endeavor quietly to repose yourselves where safety is. 
" To your tents, O Israel," — God is your tent. 

This was the last letter written by this excellent 
man to the grandchildren, whose career he had 
watched with such tender solicitude. He died soon 
after at his home in New York. The following ex- 
tract, taken from a long and minute account of his 
illness and death, by his daughter, Anne Mott, to her 
son, James Mott, fitly closes this chapter : — 

New York, 5th mo. 12th, 1823. 

" The chamber where the good man meets his fate 
Is privileged beyond the common walks of life." 

How have I felt the force of these lines for a day or two 



past ; and amidst the mingled feelings that arise in the 
breast of an attached daughter, whilst a most venerated 
and beloved parent lies a corpse before her, the mother's 
heart has often turned to that dear, absent child, who bears 
his grandsire's name, with fervent aspirations that the man- 
tle of a meek and quiet spirit, which clothed him we mourn, 
may rest upon her son ; and the name of James Mott con- „ 
tinue to be honorable in life, as well as precious in death. 
Let his bright example be as a mirror in which thou mayst 
compare thyself, and find where thou art lacking in the 
standard of the perfect man. Emulate his virtues, copy 
his active goodness, and imitate his disinterestedness ; then 
in that hour that cometh upon all flesh, those that surround 
thy dying pillow will have the unspeakable consolation that 
we now witness, even whilst our tears are flowing, that 
those who fought the good fight, and kept the faith, will re- 
ceive a crown of righteousness, which is laid up in store 
for all who love the Lord, and keep his commandments. 

Our excellent father was spared to us for a longer time 
than many reach, 1 yet still the separating stroke is keenly 
felt, and came unlooked for, some of us being so unpre- 
pared, that for a time resignation was not found, nor its 
whisperings scarcely heard ; but we begin, I hope, to rest 
in the belief, that his removal was in the order of that wis- 
dom that doeth all things right, and to sorrow not as those 
who have no hope. Long will his memory live in the 
bosom of his children, and be as the odour of sweet oint- 
ment to the wise and good who shared his friendship ; and 
they are not a few, for he had not lived in obscurity, and 
where he was known, he was beloved. May we all care- 
fully follow his footsteps, and bear in mind, that the narrow 
path of self-denial, in which he trod from youth to age with 
humility and fear, leads to that city, whose walls are salva- 
tion and whose gates praise. 

1 He died in his eighty-first year. 


From about 1822 to 1830 James Mott was en- 
gaged in the domestic commission business, which 
included the sale of cotton, heretofore considered a 
legitimate article of merchandise, even by people of 
anti-slavery proclivities. It was a popular, and gen- 
erally a very profitable business. But Elias Hicks' 
powerful preaching against any voluntary participa- 
tion with slavery was arousing Friends to a newer 
understanding of the subject, and many were led to 
unite with him in abstinence, as far as possible, from 
the products of slave labor. James and Lucretia 
Mott were in sympathy with his views, and adopted 
them, so far as their household was concerned, resolv- 
ing to " make things honest " in this respect. A 
letter written by the latter many years after gives a 
quaint account of what might be called her conver- 
sion on this matter. She says : — 

About the year 1825, feeling called to the gospel of 
Christ, and submitting to this call, and feeling all the peace 
attendant on submission, I strove to live in obedience to 
manifest duty. Going one day to our meeting, in a dispo- 
sition to do that to which I might feel myself called, most 
unexpectedly to myself the duty was impressed upon my 
mind to abstain from the products of slave labor, knowing 
that Elias Hicks long, long before had done this. I knew 
that in the boarding-school, where I had received such edu- 
cation as was then customary, we had had the middle pas- 
sage of the slave-ship represented to us, and the appeals 



from Clarkson's works for the abolition of the slave trade 
were familiar to all the children in the school. I knew 
that some of our committee were not free to partake of the 
sweets obtained from this unrighteous channel, so I was 
somewhat prepared for this duty, and yet it was unexpected. 
It was like parting with the right hand, or the right eye, 
but when I left the meeting I yielded to the obligation, and 
then, for nearly forty years, whatever I did was under the 
conviction, that it was wrong to partake of the products 
of slave labor. 

She felt concerned about her husband's business 
for several years before it became clear to his mind 
that it was his duty to give it up ; and his mother, as 
we have seen in a previous letter, had admonished her 
son seriously as to his course. He was not a man 
to shrink from any step which duty demanded ; he 
was cautious, and slow to form convictions, but, once 
formed, these were steadily adhered to. As a friend 
wrote afterwards, 44 This was one of those spiritual 
crises which never leave a man exactly as they find 
him, but always touch his moral vision to brighten, 
or to dim it. In the contest, his conscience was vic- 
torious." But, judging from allusions in the letters 
of the next five years, we may believe the struggle 
in his mind was both long and painful. It was no 
easy matter to turn away from a newly found pros- 
perity, and face again the doubtful chances of a busi- 
ness with which he was not familiar; but finally, 
about 1830, he quitted the profitable trade, that could 
only be carried on at the cost of self-respect, and en- 
tered the wool commission business. In this he re- 
mained, with various successes and reverses, until he 
retired in 1852, with a moderate competency. 

Meantime, this 44 providing things honest" in the 


home involved daily discomforts and annoyances, and 
not a few sacrifices of personal pride ; but they per- 
sistently followed the path indicated by their convic- 
tions, until the Proclamation of Freedom in 1863 
made it no longer necessary. As far as possible, they 
bought their groceries and dry - goods at the well- 
remembered free-labor stores ; but unfortunately, free 
sugar was not always as free from other taints as 
from that of slavery; and free calicoes could seldom 
be called handsome, even by the most enthusiastic ; 
free umbrellas were hideous to look upon, and free 
candies, an abomination. 1 It was often difficult for 
the younger generation growing up around them to 
comprehend the principle involved in these matters, 
and the heroism with which it was sustained. But 
to those who had solemnly engaged in the warfare 
against slavery, whose sympathy with the oppressed 
had become a religion, apparent trifles became of 
grave importance ; and these, as well as the more 
evidently vital testimonies, were upheld with an en- 
thusiasm and devotion that derision could not laugh 
down, nor persecution dismay. 

We find very few letters of special interest at 
this period, and most of these are from James Mott, 
who probably took the burden of correspondence 
from his wife's busy hands. We may be very sure, 

1 One of the children at a small birthday party had, as part of the en- 
tertainment, some "secrets," — candies with mottoes, wrapped in bright- 
colored papers, in great favor with children. Imagine the disappointment 
on opening the pretty packages, to find, instead of the usual delightfully 
silly couplets, a set of good, improving, anti-slavery sentiments ! They 
had been bought at the free store ! These are two of them : — 
" If slavery comes by color, which God gave, 
Fashion may change, and you become the slave." 

f< 'T is not expedient the slave to free? 
Do what is right: — that is expediency! " 



however, that what either one wrote or said was 
meant for both, for their agreement was almost per- 
fect. Who can tell what blight might have befallen 
Lucretia Mott, if her energy had been drained by 
domestic discord, her hopeful spirit crushed by dis- 
couragement and disagreement at home? She was 
fortunate in herself, — blessed with divine gifts ; but 
she was doubly fortunate, doubly blessed, in the com- 
panionship of a noble, loving husband, who, so far 
from being a hindrance to her in the path " where- 
unto she was called," was a support and an inspira- 
tion. Although he was not so widely known as she, 
and his field of usefulness in consequence might 
seem more restricted, yet no one can contemplate the 
lives of two, so united, — each seeming the other's 
complement, — without realizing that his life made 
hers a possibility. He was a man, " calm, sensible, 
and clear-sighted ; one who feared not the face of 
man, and whom nothing could move to the slightest 

He was as different from his wife in disposition 
and manner, as in personal appearance ; he was 
reserved and silent, while she was impulsive and vi- 
vacious. He was apt to become depressed and dis- 
couraged ; she, on the contrary, was a sunbeam of 
hopefulness. His was the gentler and more yielding 
disposition ; hers the indomitable energy and resolu- 
tion, which in a less disciplined character might have 
been willfulness. He was a good listener, she a good 
talker ; and it naturally fell to her part to express 
the convictions they held in common. No one was 
more sensible of the contrast between his quiet ways 
and her animation, than they were themselves ; and 
she liked sometimes to rally him a little on his taci- 



turnity and reticence. On one occasion, happening 
to enter a room where he and his brother Richard — 
almost a counterpart of himself — were sitting to- 
gether in perfect silence, she said, " I thought you 
must both be here, it was so still ! " 

Letter- writing, except in the most familiar style, 
to some member of the family, was a dread to my 
grandmother. It was difficult for her to express her- 
self in this way, though as a public speaker she was 
unusually fluent, and in conversation was easy and 
unembarrassed. In a formal letter she was apt to 
be constrained. Perhaps her rather striking lack of 
imagination contributed to this difficulty ; she needed 
the bodily presence and the personal magnetism of 
the person whom she addressed. Fortunately, when- 
ever it would answer, my grandfather, who was ready 
with his pen, came to the rescue. No doubt his long 
narrations of meeting proceedings, some of which 
have already been given, were written largely at her 
suggestion, for she felt an interest in the condition 
of the Society, although debarred from taking an 
active part, by her increasing family cares. They 
formed part of her mother's family until some time 
in 1824, when they began housekeeping again in a 
comfortable house in Sansom Street. As she kept 
no nurse, she was closely occupied by the care of her 
children, — a fourth child, another Thomas, having 
been born in 1823. Besides this, she did much of 
her own housework, and all her own sewing, as they 
could afford to keep only one servant, and felt the 
necessity of strict economy. It is interesting to find 
in an old account-book that the yearly expenses of 
this household were 1655.58 in 1820, increasing to a 
little over $1,000 in 1824, when they ventured into 



the luxury of housekeeping for themselves, but did 
not reach $1,700 for several years later; 1 and this, 
notwithstanding the addition of two more children : 
Elizabeth, born in 1825, and Martha, in 1828. It 
was in these years, during the infancy and early child- 
hood of her younger children, that she read and re- 
read with an absorbing interest the writings of Wil- 
liam Penn. She had a folio copy of his works, and 
this ponderous volume she would lay open at the foot 
of her bed ; then, drawing her chair near, and with 
her baby on her lap, she would study the passages 
that had especially attracted her attention, till she 
had them stored in her retentive memory. In her 
public discourses throughout her long life, she con- 
stantly used them to illustrate, or confirm, the views 
she advanced. She also " searched the Scriptures 
daily, often finding," as she said, " a wholly different 
construction of the text from that which was forced 
upon our acceptance." Her appreciation, as well as 
her intimate knowledge of them, was shown in her 
frequent quotations from them, — quotations strik- 
ingly apt, and invariably correct. 

This familiarity with venerated authorities often 
served her in good stead in the contests drawn upon 
her by fault-finding critics, and she was enabled to 
disarm them with their own weapons. On one such 
occasion she was visited by two Elders (women) of 
Twelfth Street Meeting, to which she also belonged, 
who, after sitting some minutes in silence with her, 

1 The record reads: — 

1820 .... $055.58 

1821 ... . 789.23 

1822 .... 982.09 

1823 .... 939.18 

1824 .... 1,488.81 

1825 $1,399.10 

1826 1,175.84 

1827 1,026.59 

1828 1,659.94 

1829 1,407.71 



said, that " Friends " had sometimes been unable to 
unite fully with the views she advanced, and that 
they had felt particularly tried with an expression 
used by her in her communication in Meeting on the 
previous First-day ; they could not exactly remember 
the sentence, but it was something about " notions of 
Christ." She repeated the entire sentence, "Men are 
to be judged by their likeness to Christ, rather than 
by their notions of Christ," asking if that was the 
one they had objected to. On their saying it was, 
she quietly informed them that it was a quotation 
from their honored William Penn. The Friends 
again sat in silence a few minutes, then arose and 
went their way. 

It is thus evident that Lucretia Mott, although 
still an acceptable minister to the majority of the 
Meeting, was beginning to offend a portion by her 
liberal views ; her well-known sympathy with the 
sentiments of Elias Hicks also contributed to this 
growing unpopularity. From the time of her recog- 
nition as an " approved minister" in the Society, 
until the year 1827, the elements of discord were be- 
coming more and more apparent, as is shown by some 
of the following letters : — 


Phila., 1st mo. 28th, 1825. 
. . . The anticipation of our next Quarterly M g is by 
no means pleasant. It is much to be feared, that a scene 
similar to our last Quarter may again be witnessed. I 
suppose you hear numerous reports of the divided and un- 
settled state of the Society among us ; we also hear of 
things among you. Our situation is bad enough, and I 
fear you are not much better ; there is great need, in these 
times of commotion, for each one to repair the wall over 
against his own house. ... 



Phila., 5th mo. 14th, 1825. 
We have your acceptable letter informing of your ex- 
peditious journey and safe arrival. . . . The packet W. 
Thompson brought us fifty packages of goods, most of 
which we have already sold, and could sell twice the num- 
ber without difficulty ; but must await the arrival of the 
Florida, which we hope will bring us an increased quan- 
tity. . . . The receipt and bill for a keg of rice is rec d , 
for which we are much obliged. It will be a great treat, 
and will relish better than that which is stained with blood. 

To which his wife adds : — 

We did indeed feel stripped at both our houses after 
parting with so many ; and as my mother often told us it 
was a good plan to go to work when we were left in that 
way, rather than sit down and brood over lonely feelings, 
I immediately began adjusting the drawers and closets, 
which were heaps upon heaps, sweeping, etc., and by 
twelve o'c. had things pretty well arranged. . . . 

After the marriage and removal of her two daugh- 
ters, Lucretia and Eliza, Anna Coffin filled her roomy 
house with lodgers, and retired from her shop-keep- 
ing business. Lucretia, as before said, was settled in 
Sansom Street. Her sister Eliza, married in 1814 
to Benjamin H. Yarnall, of Philadelphia, was also 
at housekeeping near by, and absorbed in the care of 
a young family. The intimate intercourse of the 
venerated mother and her children continued almost 
as if they were all under one roof. They met to- 
gether regularly on certain afternoons of every week 
to talk over everything of interest to any one of 
them ; and the mother's opinion was consulted in the 


little every-day nothings, as much as in the graver 
issues of life. Her approbation was always desired. 
It was a time, often referred to in the years to come, 
when long distances separated the family. The first 
break came in a very painful way ; Sally, the oldest 
daughter of Anna Coffin, unmarried, and living at 
home, was fatally injured by a fall, and died in 
Third month, 1824. This sad event was followed, a 
few months later, by the death of a younger daugh- 
ter, Mary Coffin Temple, only twenty-four years old ; 
and soon after this, in the same year, came the mar- 
riage, and departure to the South, of the youngest, 
Martha, the child most like her mother. She mar- 
ried Peter Pelham, of Kentucky, a captain in the 
United States Army, and went with him to his sta- 
tion in Florida, 1 a long distance in those days. Of 
this Lucretia writes : • — 

My mother has experienced so many changes in her 
family during the past year, some deeply painful, and aw- 
fully affecting, that in the prospect of parting with Martha 
to go such a distance, it seemed as if she might adopt the 
language of the patriarch, "Joseph is not, and Simeon is 
not, and ye will take Benjamin away ! all these things are 
against me ; " but on a further acquaintance with our dear 
brother, Peter Pelham, we found much to attach us to him ; 
and from favorable accounts of his character we cherish 
the hope that this present deprivation will result in future 

In the spring of 1826, their four children, Anna, 
Maria, Thomas, and Elizabeth, together with their 
little niece, Anna Temple, who had been living with 
them since her mother's death, had the measles. 

1 In the early autumn of 1826 Martha returned, a widow, to her moth- 
er's house, Avith a baby daughter, Mariana, born in 8th month, 1825. 



James Mott closes a letter to his mother, giving de- 
tails of their illness and recovery, with these words : 
" What with nursing and attending to five sick chil- 
dren, my L. seems almost worn out, and I am fearful 
will be ill herself. ... It is getting late, and the 
children require my attention." 


Phila., 4th mo. 23rd, 1826. 
. . . Our Yearly Meeting closed on Sixth-clay, and on the 
whole was more quiet and satisfactory than I feared it 
would be. No subject was introduced which was calcu- 
lated to excite the party feeling which subsists among us ; 
on two occasions, however, it was manifested that it still 
existed ; and were it confined to the younger part of Soci- 
ety, we might hope a little experience would convince 
them of the impropriety and folly of suffering a party spirit 
to govern in our deliberative assemblies ; but when those, 
who for years have been considered as pillars in the church, 
allow themselves to act under its influence, there is no 
probability that the floor members will improve much. . . . 
Our children have recovered from the measles, and Lucre- 
tia from the fatigue of nursing them, so that she could at- 
tend all the sittings of the Yearly Meeting, though for two 
or three days in much weakness of body. We have had 
almost no company, Lucretia not feeling able to attend to 
them and to Meeting. 1 . , . 

L. M. adds to the above as follows : — 

Our Yearly Meeting does not furnish much to pen, al- 
though it was acknowledged by all whom I heard speak of 
it, to be very satisfactory. Anna Braithwaite, E. Robe- 

1 It was the custom among Friends, during Yearly Meeting week, to 
open their houses for the accommodation of Friends from a distance, and 
to take as many into their families as they could make room for. Some 
went so far as to subdivide their chambers by temporary partitions, and 
put up extra beds. 



son, Rebecca Updegraff, attended with certificates, all of 
whom had full opportunities to relieve their minds, and we 
had much preaching. I was obliged to leave the Meeting 
on Seventh-day morning, and did not get out again till 
Second-day, after which I felt better every day. The chil- 
dren did pretty well, though were more exposed to the air, 
by running out while we were at Meeting, than I liked. 
Thomas is still poorly, very fretful, and requires patient at- 
tention. I wrote the foregoing with my babe in my arms. 
I wish you could see what a lovely, fat, little pet she is ; 
and her father already flatters himself she looks pleased 
when he takes her. If she has had the measles, it was very 
light ; there was a slight eruption which Dr. Moore thought 
looked like it, but no fever. The crape gown will be use- 
ful to make over for Anna, unless I conclude to keep it 
for Maria, as I have just prepared Anna to go to West- 
town boarding-school. They have both had their bomba- 
zines made up this winter. 

James' present partner is a young man, and appears in 
good spirits. They have already some goods consigned to 
them, and their friends think their prospects good. I con- 
fess I should be much better satisfied, if they could do busi- 
ness that was in no wise dependent on slavery, and perhaps 
some will appear after a while. 


Phila., 9th mo. 9th, 1826. 
. . . I have this evening attended a meeting of about 
forty Friends, to take into consideration the propriety of 
forming an association to procure cotton, sugar, etc. raised 
by free labour. A committee of twelve was appointed to 
consider what means will best promote the object, and re- 
port to an adjourned meeting to be held the last of next 
week. This concern has spread very much in this city and 
neighborhood within a few years, and I believe will event- 
ually prevail. ... * 




Phil., 9th mo. 19th, 1826. 
It is not pleasant to us that so long time is suffered to 
elapse without the exchange of letters. "We conclude it is 
owing to the unsettled state of the several families, and to 
your absence from the city, and on our part to James' hav- 
ing made two visits in person. Let us each try to do better 
in future. 

Our family is favored with the blessing of good health. 
Thomas appears to have recovered from his chills, and lit- 
tle Elizabeth is fat and healthy ; she has six teeth, and is 
very forward on her feet ; gets up by chairs and creeps 
about with rapidity. Maria has begun to go to her cousin 
Rebecca's school, and is much pleased with learning to 
write and cipher. We frequently receive letters from 
Anna, at West-town, and hear good accounts of her from 
various quarters. 

My mother has added a number of new boarders to her 
family. Our friends generally are well. . . . 

J. M. adds as follows : — 

Having been out all the evening on meeting business — 
rather a tough case, — and now being near eleven o'clock, 
I cannot fill the sheet as intended, to give you a faint ac- 
count of our Quarterly Meeting ; for faint indeed would any 
written description be, compared to the reality. On Second- 
day the sitting lasted until after five p. m., adjourned to nine 
next morning, and did not close till half past one. Notwith- 
standing the very discouraging state of things amongst us, 
we must hope that better days are in store. 


Phil., 2nd mo. 26th, 1827. 
... It is with heartfelt regret that we learn the state of 
things at Jericho M g , as well as in many others. If we c d 



only do as our beloved grand fr advised, " leave the present 
unprofitable discussion, and endeavor to go on unto perfec- 
tion," how much better w d it be for us all. The apostle 
has truly forewarned us, " But if ye bite and devour one 
another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of an- 
other : " for have we not found this to be the case, that 
the stronger are consuming the weaker, in the several M ss 
where these party feelings exist. I know it is a serious 
thing to set up individual judgment against that of a Mo. 
M g ; but when we see those of unblemished lives repeat- 
edly arraigned before their tribunal, and remember the test 
which the Blessed Master laid down, " By their fruits shall 
ye know them," it is difficult always to refrain, though we 
still endeavor to do so. 

It is not within the plan of this memoir to enter 
npon the causes of the " Separation " of 1827. There 
are sources of information open to those who may 
wish to obtain a knowledge of the subject. It will 
only be necessary to state that what is known as the 
liberal party was that with which James and Lucre- 
tia Mott sympathized, as the one whose sentiments 
and principles accorded more with their own, and, in 
their opinion, with those of George Fox, William 
Penn, and other " early Friends." The discussion 
of doctrines and dogmas was distasteful to them, and 
they both bore a decided testimony against whatever 
had a tendency to interfere with the right of private 
judgment and individual opinion. 

During the week of the Yearly Meeting of Phila- 
delphia, held in 1827, it became evident that a sep- 
aration or reorganization of that body was inevita- 
ble. A meeting composed of a large number of 
Friends from the different branches of the Yearly 
Meeting was therefore convened, for the purpose of 
conferring together on the unsettled condition of the 



Society, and to consider what measures it might be 
proper to take, to " remedy the distressing evil." An 
address to the members at large was adopted and 
issued by this body, in accordance with which, a for- 
mal reorganization took place, Orthodox Friends re- 
taining most of the meeting-houses in the city of Phil- 
adelphia, while the greater number in the outlying 
districts were held by the liberal, or Hicksite Friends. 
Among others, the Orthodox retained the one known 
as Twelfth Street Meeting, which James and Lucretia 
Mott had been accustomed to attend. While their 
new house on Cherry Street was being built, the 
Hicksites, comparatively a small number, met in 
Carpenter's Hall, an old historic building, still stand- 
ing in a court, back of Chestnut Street, below Fourth. 

James Mott was ready to join the new organiza- 
tion some time before his wife felt prepared to leave 
the one with which she had been associated, and no 
pains were spared to kee*p her in the old commun- 
ion. She hesitated ; dear and valued friends were 
on both sides; and it may be, judging from her ex- 
perience in her own Society, that she already had 
some misgivings as to the trammels of all religious 
associations ; she may, perhaps, have sympathized 
with the feeling that prompted a liberal-minded 
Friend, who, when asked why he remained in con- 
nection with the Orthodox branch, replied, " For the 
short distance you propose to move, it seems scarcely 
worth while to get up." In a month or two, how- 
ever, she became prepared to join her husband, and 
make the social sacrifice ; and notwithstanding the 
disappointments, trials, and baptisms, that awaited 
her in the transfer of her right of membership, she 
felt that she had done right in leaving the Orthodox 


Friends : on this point she never afterwards had the 
least misgiving. 

A reorganized Yearly Meeting having been estab- 
lished, James and Lucretia Mott attended with reg- 
ularity the one held in Cherry Street, of which they 
had become members. Their disownment by the 
Monthly Meeting held on Twelfth Street followed as 
a matter of course. Lucretia Mott's joining the re- 
organization was recognized with more than usual 
approbation. The conviction seemed to be universal, 
that a " gift was committed " to her, which promised 
extensive usefulness. 

As her mental endowments and strength of char- 
acter became enlarged and more fully developed, her 
sphere of duty became wider and wider, and while 
she labored faithfully in the advocacy of views that 
distinguished Friends from other religious sects, she 
believed that there was yet other work for her to 
do ; she must devote her life also to the abolition of 
slavery, the elevation of woman, the cause of temper- 
ance, and the promotion of universal peace. These 
became the subjects of her earnest and constant 
ministry, within and without the pale of her own re- 
ligious society. 

The controversy which led to the "separation" 
estranged life - long friends, and often caused bitter 
feeling between members of the same family ; but 
James and Lucretia Mott took no part in personal 
controversies. Their broad, catholic views of life, 
and its practical duties, raised them above such con- 
tention. Lucretia's beloved sister Eliza, though lib- 
erally inclined herself, felt best satisfied to remain 
with her husband's family, who were identified with 
the Orthodox side. This was a trial to both sisters ; 



but the separation of interests never led to any es- 
trangement in the two families. 

The parents of James Mott also held to the Ortho- 
dox faith ; but in this case, with so much feeling, that 
it alienated them temporarily from their son in Phil- 
adelphia. This was very trying to the latter, who 
cherished only the kindest feeling, even for those less 
intimately connected. Through his forbearance and 
good sense, the old amicable relations were soon re- 
sumed. The following letter alludes to this estrange- 
ment, and exhibits the admirable temper with which 
he met it. 


Phil., 5th mo. 23rd, 1828. 
Thy letter. of 19 th I received yesterday, in reading which 
my mind was much affected, under an apprehension, which 
this letter tends to confirm, that thou hast for some time 
cherished feelings towards me, and my precious Lucre tia, 
which our difference of opinion on subjects of controversy 
in our religious society does not warrant. I feel no dis- 
position to enter into a discussion of them, believing that 
no advantage would result to either of us by so doing at 
present. The time however may come, when we shall dis- 
cover, that the difference between us is not so great as 
thou may now suppose. The part that I have taken has 
been conscientiously done, and experience confirms me in 
the rectitude of it. The Declaration issued by the late 
Yearly M s has this effect, because I understand from it, by 
imputation, that they hold opinions on doctrinal points 
which I never did, and which are opposed to what I have 
always believed to be the principles of Quakerism. We 
have abundant evidence that the way to the Kingdom is 
through tribulation, and that this way consisteth not in 
assenting to certain opinions and doctrines, but in doing 



the will of our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, "he that 
heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them." Had we 
as a Society been more concerned to do the things that 
were manifested, it is not likely there would be so much 
animosity and bitter reviling, as is now sorrowfully the 

The reason thou assigns for our not being favored with the 
perusal of letters from our brother and sister, has not been 
so obvious as thou supposes. We did not know that we 
were deprived of this gratification, because we entertained 
different opinions on some points from them, and do not, 
even now, see why such a consequence should result. It is 
trying to my feelings to be thus deprived of the opportunity 
of participating in the joys and sorrows of those whom I 
tenderly love. If, however, their letters are filled with mat- 
ter relating to the controversy in our Society, instead of the 
interesting details of domestic occurrences, as they used to 
be, my desire to see them is lessened ; for I am tired of 
hearing so much said, and seeing so much written, on a 
subject which, I am sure, tendeth not to profit. 

I have no letters in my possession from my grandfather 
to Moses Brown, or from Moses Brown to him. All that I 
had, I gave to thee when thou wert last in this city. I do 
not recollect ever to have seen one, that contained a differ- 
ence of sentiment between them on doctrinal subjects ; and 
I have no clear recollection of ever seeing one on doctrines. 
His letters were generally practical, not doctrinal. 

It seems some have said he was one in sentiment with 
Elias Hicks, and thou art desirous of proving that he was 
not. Now I think it likely one will be about as difficult to 
show as the other, and I do not believe either would add 
one jot or tittle to the excellent name which he has left be- 
hind him. I wish we had more such bright examples 
among us, and desire we may not try to make him out to 
have been a party man ; for surely he was not, as his last 
letter to us, written about two months before his death, 



abundantly proves. It was his concern to do justly, to 
love mercy, to walk humbly, and to keep himself unspotted 
from the world. Let it be our concern to follow his ex- 
cellent example, and not be drawn into a controversy or 
dispute as to what were, or were not his sentiments. To 
those who may be desirous of supporting their opinions, or 
belief, on what they may suppose he thought, I would say, 
live as he lived, and walk as he walked, and I will not 
quarrel with you about his opinions. I herewith send the 
books containing the extracts from his letters, which I 
value very highly. 

We should be very glad to have a visit from our sister 
Sarah, and if she can spare the time to spend a few days 
with us, it shall be no expense to her. . . . 

Very a£fect ly , James Mott. 

At this period Lucretia Mott was enabled to ar- 
range her domestic duties so that she could attend 
the meetings of her Society with much regularity, — 
she and her husband being joined by such of their 
children as were of sufficient age. It was their ear- 
nest concern that their children should be well edu- 
cated, not merely in academic knowledge, but that 
they should be " brought up in the fear and admoni- 
tion of the Lord." As they increased in years the 
pressure of domestic care became lightened, and 
their mother felt at liberty to enter into larger fields 
of labor than she had hitherto sought, although at 
the time of the following letters it is evident she was 
still closely occupied at home : — 


12th, 29th, 1828. 

. . . The observation of sister Sarah touching our Anna's 
dress at her uncle's wedding was acceptable, and I hope 


that it may strengthen her to keep in the simplicity. The 
custom of the times is for girls to dress so much, even 
those from whom we are looking for better things, that it 
is difficult for some of us to keep ours as moderate as we 
should wish. . . . Dr. Moore's daughter Martha is to be 
married to-morrow to Dr. Rodman. They are to go to his 
uncle's to have the ceremony performed, and a carriage 
will be in waiting to take them to their new home, ten 
miles distant. This has been quite a trial to her parents, 
altho' they have no other objection to the young man 
than his not being in membership with us, which has 
placed them in an embarrassing situation respecting the 
necessary preparations to be made for her; the views of 
Friends differ so much, as to what constitutes " conniving." 1 
I sincerely hope we shall be prepared for a change in our 
discipline on that subject next year. I understand the sub- 
ject is coming up from one of the Quarters. I have not 
yet heard a substitute proposed, that altogether pleases me, 
and have been reminded of a remark of our grandfather in 
a letter on the subject: "It is wrong now; but how to 
make it right, wiser heads than mine are required." . . . 

Our children are all well. Anna is at Clement Biddle's, 
helping sew carpet rags. She is considered forward in her 
learning for one of her age. Maria is more fond of her 
needle than her books. I never had so many cares press- 
ing upon me. Little Martha is more troublesome than 
either of the others, which confines me pretty much to 

1 "Let such of our members be admonished, who are either present 
themselves, or consent to their children being present at marriages of those 
not in membership, which are accomplished by the assistance of a priest. 
. . . Monthly Meetings are authorized to give forth testimonies of denial 
against such parents or guardians who consent to, connive at, or encour- 
age the marriages of their children and those under their care (members of 
our religious society) contrary to the good order established among st us ; 
if, after Christian and brotherly labour with them, they cannot be brought 
to a due sense of their error, and a satisfactory acknowledgment of the 
same." — Rules of Discipline. 

This passage was modified later. 



her, and I sometimes have three of them in bed with me by- 
daylight in the morning, — Thos., Eliz th ., and Martha. 

Do write often, without waiting for us, for I never had 
less time to take the pen ; now it is towards eleven. 

To which J. M. adds : — 

We are all in usual health, and our little Martha grows 
finely ; she is called handsome. Maria and Thomas attend 
their schools regularly, and make satisfactory improve- 
ment. Anna is pursuing her Latin study in company 
with her Yarnall cousins. 

Elias Hicks has attended our meetings two successive 
First-days, and preached excellently to crowded audiences, 
giving evidence that he is still " great and good," and ear- 
nestly engaged to do the work of his Divine Master, and to 
persuade all to follow his holy example. . . . 


Phil., 5th mo., 16th, 1830. 
We have been again favored with the rec* of a letter 
from our mother, dated the 9 th inst. Although the corre- 
spondence between us has rather declined for a few years 
past, in consequence of our not assimilating in our views 
and opinions on an all-engrossing subject, yet I trust, that 
as the excitement which always attends a revolution or 
reformation subsides, and sober reason again takes her seat, 
we shall discover, that what we apprehended to be erro- 
neous was so in appearance only, and should not interrupt 
the reciprocal feelings of friendship and affection, that 
ought to exist between near relatives, and which I hope 
is felt as ever with us, though not so frequently manifested 
in this way. ... I am tired of mercantile business, and 
have thought and talked much lately of withdrawing from 
it and doing something else, — perhaps going to the coun- 
try. . . . 


L. M. adds to the above : — 
We feel quite unsettled with regard to the future. 
I always had rather an objection to James' engaging in his 
present business, and yet not sufficient to have him give it 
up for my sake ; but of latter time I cannot regret, that the 
dealing in slave goods is becoming increasingly burdensome 
to him, and should the relinquishing of it be attended with 
some sacrifice, we are nearly prepared to receive the conse- 

This is the last mention of the mental struggle 
which resulted in James Mott's giving up the cotton 
business. The change occurred soon after, with 
great sacrifice of material prosperity, but with a 
spiritual gain, which those can best appreciate who 
have " fought the good fight " themselves. 

Both parties of the Quakers were still active in 
endeavoring to uphold their claims to be considered 
the true Society of Friends. Proceedings at law for 
the possession of property were carried on through 
many months, causing much unsettlement. They 
stimulated the desire of each to make its own side 
appear the better one, the effect of which was to 
keep alive party feeling and animosity. The inter- 
est in these proceedings was heightened by the fact 
that eminent counsel were engaged on both sides, 
and Friends, distinguished for their intelligence and 
weight of character, were put forward as witnesses 
to maintain the cause of their respective parties. In 
addition to this cause of agitation, many leading 
persons connected with the reorganized Society were 
absorbed in measures for the proper administra- 
tion of the Discipline, and schemes were proposed, 
and in some cases resorted to, which seemed to 
Lucretia Mott to retard religious progress, and to 



abridge the advancement of those testimonies, which 
inculcated obedience to the Inner Light, as the test 
of discipleship. She soon discovered that the course 
which seemed to her to be the right one, was not ac- 
ceptable to some of those who had been leaders in 
the Separation, and who were now ready to institute 
measures marked more by a desire to uphold secta- 
rian purposes and individual plans, than to advance 
the principles of Christian liberty, so ably set forth 
in the document issued by Friends at the time of the 
reorganization of the Yearly Meeting, in 1827. 

This was particularly shown in an Epistle, which 
the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of 1830 addressed 
to that of London, — where there had been no divis- 
ion, — in which an attempt was made to represent 
their views as in no wise inconsistent with those held 
by Friends in England. When, according to custom, 
this Epistle was brought into the women's meeting 
for its approval, Lucretia Mott, who was the clerk, 
and whose duty it became to sign the document, find- 
ing that it contained sentiments utterly opposed to 
her own convictions, and to what she believed to be 
the inherent spirit of Quakerism, protested against 
it, and stated that, while as clerk it might be proper 
and necessary for her to sign it on behalf of the 
Meeting, yet as an individual she could not approve 
of it ; she objected to any statement in the nature of 
a declaration of faith, other than the " inward light," 
— the Divine Light in the soul, — which she re- 
garded as the cardinal doctrine of Friends. 1 

Many years after, a member of the Select Meeting 
of Ministers and Elders, one strongly inclined to or- 

1 This Epistle was returned from England with the charge of "mendac- 
ity." It was not even permitted to be read in London Yearly Meeting. 



tliodoxy, and fearful of the growing influence of 
Lucretia Mott, sought to confound her by reminding 
the Meeting that she had signed this Epistle of 1830. 
With unusual earnestness, as well as suppressed in- 
dignation, she forthwith related the true history of 
the circumstance, which, far from being discreditable 
to her, was an honorable instance of her devotion to 
the true spirit of the Society. 

It is especially painful to recur to this period in 
the life of Lucretia Mott. She discovered that her 
failure to sympathize and cooperate with those who 
seemed to be taking a retrograde course, met with 
coldness and unfriendly admonition. It was a deep 
disappointment and sorrow to her, that those from 
whom she had expected so much, those who had " put 
their hands to the plough, were looking back." This 
was a sad blow to the hopes and expectations which 
she had cherished in leaving the other portion of the 
Society, with which were some of her most valued 
associations. But she was not in the way of speak- 
ing of personal grievances. It might well be said of 
her at this time, that she was " dumb with silence, 
and held her peace even from good ; and lier sorrow 
was stirred." It was as early as the year 1831 that 
she met with the following from the writings of Wil- 
liam Ellery Channing, which impressed her deeply as 
a beautiful expression of divine truth, and which she 
often repeated in her public ministry. A copy of 
this, in her husband's handwriting, was found after 
her death in the quaint, little, old portfolio in which 
she kept her especial treasures. She often quoted 
other passages, but this must have been the one she 
loved best, for it is an admirable statement of her 
own views. 



" There is one principle of the soul which makes all men 
essentially equal. I refer to the sense of duty, to the power 
of discerning and doing right, to the moral and religious 
principle, to the inward monitor which speaks in the name 
of God. This is the great gift of God, — we can conceive 
no greater. . . . All mysteries of science and theology fade 
away before the grandeur of the simple perception of duty, 
which dawns on the mind of the little child. He becomes 
subject from that moment to a law which no power in the 
universe can abrogate ; he begins to stand before an inward 
tribunal, on the decisions of which his whole happiness 
rests ; he hears a voice, which if faithfully followed will 
guide him to perfection ; and in neglecting which, he brings 
upon himself inevitable misery." 


In forming a correct estimate of the character of 
Lucretia Mott, it must be remembered, that deeply 
interested as she was in every cause that could better 
humanity, she was, before all, a Friend. Up to the 
time of the Separation in the Society, her interests 
had been busied chiefly within its own limitations, 
and although the question of slavery had already 
engaged her attention, she had been satisfied to re- 
gard it as important, only so far as Quaker tra- 
dition imposed that duty upon all conscientious 
minds. But in the severe mental discipline of the 
Separation, when for the first time she was obliged 
to judge even of herself what was right, and to abide 
by that decision at whatever sacrifice, her whole 
spiritual vision widened, and she beheld directly be- 
fore her extended fields of labor wherein honest 
workers were sorely needed. To see, with her, was 
to do. As she says of herself, " The millions of 
down-trodden slaves in our land being the greatest 
sufferers, the most oppressed class, I felt bound to 
plead their cause in season and out of season, to en- 
deavor to put myself in their soul's stead, and to aid 
all in my power, in every right effort for their im- 
mediate emancipation." She recognized that it was 
not the cause of a sect or a party, nor of a single 
generation, but of " universal benevolence, and ever- 
lasting truth." To its furtherance she dedicated her 



life, and her loyalty was "without variableness or 
shadow of turning." 

Before this time, in England, Elizabeth Hey rick 
had published her work on " Immediate, not Grad- 
ual, Emancipation ; " Clarkson, Wilberforce, and 
others, had secured the attention of the British Par- 
liament to the wrongs of the African, and public 
sentiment, to a good degree, was enlisted on the side 
of the slave. In this country but little of importance 
had been accomplished, until the untiring labors of 
the devoted Benjamin Lundy, editing the " Genius 
of Universal Emancipation," in Baltimore, and the 
startling leaders by William Lloyd Garrison, in his 
" Liberator," awoke the sleeping nation, and pre- 
pared the wa} r for a convention in Philadelphia, in 
1833, to take the ground of " immediate, not gradual, 
emancipation; " and to impress the duty of "uncon- 
ditional liberty without expatriation." 

It would hardly be possible to find a more graphic 
account of the now historical convention of 1833 
than that given by J. Miller McKim, before the 
American Anti-Slavery Society at its third decade 
meeting, held in Philadelphia, in 1863. The follow- 
ing extracts are selected : — 

" For two or three years previous to the period now re- 
ferred to, the country — a very considerable portion of it — 
had been in a state of high religious excitement. Every- 
where people's attention was directed with unusual ear- 
nestness to the subject of personal religion. Since the days 
of Whitfield, it was said, there had been no excitement 
equal to it in depth and intensity ; but toward the latter 
part of 1833 this excitement began to subside. . . . With 
the subsidence of this religious excitement in the country, 
the feelings of the sincere and enlightened who had shared 



in it began to take a new tarn. Their attention was called 
away from themselves to the condition of others. They 
had made sufficient progress in the divine life to under- 
stand that cardinal injunction : ' Let no man seek his own, 
but every one his neighbor's weal.' . . . 

"In the latter part of 1833, I learned that there was to 
be a convention in Philadelphia, for the purpose of form- 
ing a National Anti-Slavery Society. . . . The little band 
of pronounced Abolitionists in Carlisle — all of whom 
were black, except myself — appoitited me a delegate, and 
I set off for the city. It was in the days of stage-coaches, 
before the new era of railroads, and I was two days in 
coming. I stopped at the ' Indian Queen,' in Fourth Street, 
then considered one of our best hotels. . . . The conven- 
tion met in the Adelphi Building, in Fifth Street, below 
Walnut. Its proceedings were not secret, though they were, 
nevertheless, not thrown open by advertisement to the 
public. There were some sixty or seventy delegates pres- 
ent, and a few spectators who had been especially invited. 
A small number, it will be said, for a national convention. 
But at that time, it must be remembered, the movement 
was in its incipiency. The cloud of abolitionism was not 
even so big as a man's hand ! When I entered the hall, 
which was on the morning of the second day, the proceed- 
ings had begun ; though, as I soon learned, there was no 
specific business before the meeting. A committee had 
been appointed the day before to draw up a declaration of 
sentiments, and the convention was now awaiting their 
report. . . . Mr. Tappan's speech was interrupted by the 
announcement that Mr. Garrison and the rest of the com- 
mittee were coming in with their report. They had pre- 
pared a draft of a declaration, and it devolved upon Dr. 
Edwin P. Atlee to read it. After the reading followed 
criticism of its contents, — or rather, criticism of some of 
its phrases ; for as a whole, the paper commended itself at 
once to all who heard it. . . . Among the speakers, while 



the declaration was under discussion, were two who inter- 
ested me particularly. One was a countryman dressed in 
the plainest garb, and in appearance otherwise not partic- 
ularly calculated to excite expectation. His manner was 
angular, and his rhetoric not what would be called graceful. 
But his matter was solid, and as clear as a bell. It had 
the ring of the genuine metal, and was, moreover, pat to 
the point in question. When he sat down, — which he did 
after a very brief speech, — the question was asked, ' Who 
is that ? ' and the answer came, ' Thomas Whitson, of 
Lancaster County, in this State.' 

" The other speaker was a woman. I had never before 
heard a woman speak at a public meeting. She said but a 
few words, but these were spoken so modestly, in such 
sweet tones, and yet withal so decisively, that no one could 
fail to be pleased. And no one did fail to be pleased. She 
apologized for what might be regarded as an intrusion ; 
but she was assured by the chairman and others that what 
she had said was very acceptable. The chairman added 
his hope that ' the lady ' would not hesitate to give expres- 
sion to anything that might occur to her during the course 
of the proceedings. 

" This debate on the declaration took place in committee 
of the whole. After one or two slight verbal changes, the 
committee arose, and reported the document to the conven- 
tion. It was adopted unanimously, and ordered to be en- 
grossed. The next morning being the last session of the 
convention, it was brought in engrossed, and ready for sig- 
nature. Before the work of signing began, it was agreed 
that it should be read once more. The task was assigned 
to our friend, Samuel J. May, who performed it with much 
feeling. At times his emotion was such as to prevent him 
for a while from proceeding. The same feeling pervaded 
the audience. Then followed informally the ceremony of 
signing. Each one as he came up to put his name to the 
instrument showed by his manner, and in some instances 



by his words, that he was doing a very solemn thing. . . . 
Looking back upon this interesting occasion, the whole 
thing comes up before me, with the distinctness of a pic- 
ture. I see the convention just as it sat in that little hall of 
the Adelphi Building. I see the president, Beriah Green, 
of Oneida Institute, sitting on an eminence in the west end 
of the hall ; at either side of him the two secretaries, 
Lewis Tappan, and John G. Whittier. ... At that con- 
vention there were no adjournments for dinner. We sat 
daily from ten o'clock A. M. till dark, without recess. We 
had meat to eat, which those who have never been c caught 
up into the third heaven ' of first principles, wot not of. 
The last hours of the convention were especially impres- 
sive. I had never before, nor have I ever since, witnessed 
anything fully equal to it. The deep religious spirit which 
had pervaded the meeting from the beginning became still 
deeper. The evidence of the Divine presence and the Di- 
vine approval was palpable. Had we heard a voice saying, 
' Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the ground 
whereon thou standest is holy ground,' our convictions 
could scarcely have been clearer." . . . 

It is needless to say that the " other speaker — a 
woman,'' whom Mr. McKim mentions — was Lucre- 
tia Mott. James Mott was one of the members of 
the convention, and, as such, signed the immortal 
document. But it does not seem to have occurred 
to Lucretia Mott, Lydia White, Esther Moore, and 
Sydney Ann Lewis, the four women who were pres- 
ent, that they too should have been members, and 
have had their names recorded. They were there 
by invitation, as "listeners and spectators." Lucre- 
tia Mott, speaking of this many years afterwards, 
said : — 

" Although we were not recognized as a part of the con- 
vention by signing the document, yet every courtesy was 



shown to us, every encouragement given to speak, or to 
make suggestions of alteration. I do not think it oc- 
curred to any one of us at that time, that there would be a 
propriety in our signing the document. It was with diffi- 
culty, I acknowledge, that I ventured to express what had 
been near to my heart for many years, for I knew we 
were there by sufferance ; but when I rose, such was the 
readiness with which the freedom to speak was granted, 
that it inspired me with a little more boldness to speak 
on other subjects. When the declaration was under con- 
sideration, and we were considering our principles and our 
intended measures of action, when our friends felt that 
they were planting themselves on the truths of Divine Rev- 
elation, and on the Declaration of Independence, as an 
Everlasting Rock, it seemed to me, as I heard it read, that 
the climax would be better to transpose the sentence and 
place the Declaration of Independence first, and the truths 
of Divine Revelation last, as the Everlasting Rock ; and I 
proposed it. I remember one of the younger members 
turning to see what woman there was there who knew 
what the word "transpose" meant. 

Another of her suggestions led to the amendment 
of the phrase, " We may be personally defeated, but 
our principles never can be," by the omission of the 
last two words. She was too modest to speak of the 
most important service she rendered that conven- 
tion, — and perhaps she did not fully realize it, — but 
some of those whom she addressed felt that her lofty 
encouragement strengthened and confirmed their pur- 
pose at a critical moment, when an over-cautious pol- 
icy suggested delay. Thomas Wistar and Roberts 
Vaux, influential men of philanthropic reputation, 
who had been honored by an invitation to preside at 
the convention, had declined for prudential reasons; 
which, on being reported, made a sensible impression 


on the assembly. At that moment Lucretia Mott 
rose, and spoke a few words, " brief, timely, well- 
chosen, and weighty." She reminded her hearers 
that "right principles are stronger than great names. 
If onr principles are right, why should we be cow- 
ards? Why should we wait for those who never have 
had the courage to maintain the inalienable rights of 
the slave ? " 

Amidst calls of " go on," she took her seat, and not 
another word was uttered in favor of delay. 

The young " member who turned to look at the 
woman who knew how to use the word 4 transpose,' " 
was James Miller McKim. He was then a young 
man, studying for the ministry, but he soon relin- 
quished this to espouse the Anti-Slavery cause, with 
which he was identified throughout its entire course. 
No one can follow its progress in Pennsylvania with- 
out admiring his ability, his sagacity, and his devo- 
tion. James and Lucretia Mott met him for the first 
time at the Convention, and were greatly pleased 
with his eager adoption of the despised cause. This 
was the beginning of a strong and abiding friend- 
ship. They were also deeply interested in the war- 
fare then waging in his mind between inherited 
Presbyterianism and liberal Christianity. A mental 
struggle of this kind was sure to engage the sym- 
pathy of Lucretia Mott ; and in this case, we may 
infer from the two following letters that her advice 
also was asked. Unfortunately, Mr. McKim 's letters 
to her are not to be found. We can only infer their 

Phila. 1 st mo. 1 st , 1834. 

My dear Friend, J. M. McKim, — The reception of 
thy letter was truly pleasant, even though less minute than 



we wished, concerning the welfare of thy brothers and sis- 
ters, in whose interest thou allowed us to participate. 

Our friend Wm. L. Fisher, of Germantown, called here 
the day thou left, and expressed regret that we did not go 
there on the day appointed. We have since made them a 
visit, when he handed us his work on " Pauperism and 
Crime," directing that it should be sent to thee. Its pages 
are characteristic of its eccentric author. 

Benjamin Ferris, of Wilmington, also came on the even- 
ing of that day hoping to find thee here. Agreeably to his 
promise, he has collected some abolition reports and pam- 
phlets, which, however, he did not bring with him. While 
he professed unity with the Anti-Slavery cause, he objected 
to the word, " immediate," inasmuch as it required an ex- 
planation of our meaning. It is to be regretted, that those 
who might be powerful advocates in a righteous cause avail 
themselves of such excuses for the withdrawal of their aid. 

We had an interesting visit from Wm. L. Garrison. He 
gave us many particulars of his visit to Clarkson and 
others in England, and read some important letters. Some 
of his friends would like for him to remove here, and pub- 
lish a daily paper : he has taken it under consideration, 
but has some doubts of the time being fully come to leave 

I regret that we cannot procure for thee all that Stuart 
has written opposed to Channing, because justice requires 
that we should acquaint ourselves with both sides, before we 
judge. What is furnished may satisfy thy mind, as far as 
controversial writings can do this : but permit me to ques- 
tion whether thy present wants will be met by the perusal 
of works of this character. Rather consult the volume of 
thy own experience, and as thou acknowledges thy views 
slowly brightening, be patient, and rest in full faith for the 
j> rising of the sun, when, as thou art able to bear it, all mists 
and clouds will be dispelled. In the meantime, while read- 
ing and studying the Scriptures, let the general tenor of 


these invaluable writings govern thy conclusions, making 
all due allowance for the time and circumstances in which 
they were written ; but do not puzzle and perplex thy mind 
with inferences from isolated passages here and there, which 
are contrary to the spirit of the whole, and do violence to 
the noble gift of reason, divinely bestowed upon us. The 
Apostle wrote formerly to the young men not because they 
knew not the truth, but because they knew it, and also be- 
cause the Word of God abode in them ; and while thou holds 
fast to that excellent sentiment, that no text of Scripture 
however plain can shake thy belief in a truth which thou 
perceives by intuition, or make thee believe a thing which 
is contrary to thy innate sense of right and wrong, it will 
lead thee to frequent introversion, and thou wilt know " of 
whom thou learnest these things," and wilt not have need 
that any man should teach thee ; but, " as this same anoint- 
ing teacheth all things, and is truth, and no lie," thou wilt 
come to give paramount heed to this, and become, I trust, 
settled on that foundation which cannot be shaken. 

Worcester's " Causes of Contention among Christians " I 
have in vain looked for, to send thee. Mine was returned 
a few days since. I enclose it for thy perusal ; to be re- 
turned when thou hast done with it. John Woolman's 
Journal will, as we told thee, bear an attentive perusal ; 
and although thou may see some parts strongly marked 
with Quaker superstitions and technicalities, yet lay it not 
aside on that account. Thou art capable of judging of 
the spirit of the writer ; let that, with his sound reasoning, 
commend it to thy notice. I defend not the visionary 

Our family join in offering thee the good wishes of the 
season. Very truly thy friend, L. Mott. 

Phila., 5th mo. 8th, 1834. 
My dear Friend, J. M. McKim, — Thy interesting 
letter was received yesterday. I cannot doubt that the 



good feeling subsisting between us hitherto in our discus- 
sions, will continue in any future examination of subjects, 
even should we find ourselves not so nearly united in senti- 
ment as we anticipated last winter. 

My husband called on our dear friend, Wm. H. Furness, 
to inquire where the controversy thou wishes to see might 
be found. He is becoming increasingly interested in the 
Abolition cause, and we hope it will ere long be with him 
a pulpit theme. 

Last week we had the renewed pleasure of a visit from 
Wm. L. Garrison. He passed several days with us ; ad- 
dressed the colored people in two of their churches ; and 
would have had a public meeting, had he met with more en- 
couragement from our timid Philad a abolitionists. He was 
also discouraged in the desire he felt to say a few words to 
our young men, on the evening of their forming themselves 
into a society, — at their request, he took no part, — they 
thinking the feeling here, of opposition to his zeal and ar- 
dent measures in the cause, was such, that it would be 
rather a disadvantage. How much more congenial with 
my feelings was the noble appeal in his behalf made by 
Lewis Tappan and others at the Convention. It appears 
to me important that he should have the countenance and 
support of his friends. We passed an evening with him 
at James Forten's, and were highly interested in the con- 
versation. The cause is certainly making rapid progress ; 
we may yet live to see the desire of our souls, with re- 
gard to this oppressed people. We have received a letter 
from Benjamin Lundy, — he has strong hopes of ultimate 
success. . . . 

Our family unite in affectionate remembrance. 

Thy friend, L. Mott. 

Somewhat later, she writes again : — 

Thank thee for the extracts from thy Diary. I believe 
thou wilt yet have to let all thou hast learned "at the feet 



of Gamaliel" go for what it is worth, without going "from 
one form to another." The " Christians " may be a pious 
and Christ-like sect, but I do not like their numbering the 
Commandments. Whatsoever He — the Spirit of Truth — 
biddeth us do, that we are to do, without vainly seeking to 
ascertain the exact number of the Jewish, or other written 
commandments. It is quite time we read and examined 
the Bible more rationally, in order that truth may shine in 
its native brightness. I do not wonder at thy doubts of 
the propriety of occupying thy " station as minister " in 
preaching any system of Faith, and care not how soon thy 
Orthodox brethren detect thy heresies ; though I shall be 
careful how I expose thee, well as I know that thy relig- 
ious or theological opinions have been for some years past 
undergoing a change. I want thee to have done with call- 
ing Unitarian rationalities, " icy philosophizing." The step 
thou art taking is a serious one, and thy conclusions are of 
great importance. I pray that thou mayst be rightly di- 

She also writes to her sister, Martha C. Wright : — 

The more my attention is directed to a studied theology, 
and systematized Divinity, the more deeply do I deplore its 
unhappy effect on the mind and character ; the tendency 
is to lower the estimate of practical righteousness, and ra- 
tional Christian duties. How inviting is religion when 
stripped of the appendages of bigoted sectarism, and gloomy 
superstition ! This is exemplified in our friend J. M. Mc- 
Kim. His mind has at length burst the fetters of Presby- 
terianism, and, retaining all that is truly "pious "and valua- 
ble, he is walking forth in "the liberty wherewith Christ 
makes free." 

The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society was 
formed immediately after the organization of the 
American society, with Esther Moore as president. 
A majority of its members belonged to the Society 



of Friends. It was almost an unheard-of thing then, 
in Pennsylvania, for women to have societies of their 
own, unless under the patronizing shelter of church 
organization ; and these women, as they confessed 
with amusement afterwards, were obliged to ask a 
man to preside at their first meeting. Lucretia Mott 
said, in speaking of it : — 

At that time I had no idea of the meaning of pream- 
bles, and resolutions, and votings. Women had never been 
in any assemblies of the kind. I had attended only one 
convention — a convention of colored people — before 
that ; and that was the first time in my life I had ever 
heard a vote taken, being accustomed to our Quaker way 
of getting the prevailing sentiment of the meeting. When, 
a short time after, we came together to form the Female 
Anti-Slavery Society, there was not a woman capable of 
taking the chair and organizing that meeting in due order ; 
and we had to call on James McCrummel, a colored man, 
to give us aid in the work. 

The work once begun, however, was steadily car- 
ried on for thirty-six years. The secretary of the 
society for many years, Mary Grew, of Philadelphia, 
in reviewing its labors, said : — 

It cannot be claimed for its members that they counted 
the cost of the warfare upon which they were entering, nor 
the number of the years which lay stretched out in the dim 
future, between their first battle and their final victory. It 
was well for them, well for the cause to which they had 
vowed allegiance, that this knowledge lay beyond their 
reach. The soul that would have fainted or faltered be- 
fore the prefigured vision of that long period of toil and 
strife, was yet stronger for the buoyant hope of early vic- 
tory, and addressed itself to the labors of each successive 
year all the more ardently for the bright possibility that its 


close might usher in the jubilee. As they went on, they 
found their work widening, their responsibility deepening, 
at every step. It is now a page of history ; it was then a 
startling revelation daily made, a painful experience daily 
borne, that the churches which had nurtured their sons and 
daughters on the words of Christian love and human broth- 
erhood, had no desire to see them practically illustrated 
towards the slave or the negro. With more of keen dis- 
appointment and sorrow than of indignation, did we look on 
the strange spectacle of the American Church standing by 
to keep the garments of an enraged populace, stoning the 
Stephens of that martyr age. 

It is sad to have to record that the Society of 
Friends was no exception to this indictment. Not- 
withstanding the fact that many of its members 
were also members of the various Anti-Slavery Soci- 
eties, it was, as a body, untrue to its righteous testi- 
mony against slavery, and was becoming increasingly 
averse to the agitation of so unpopular a question. 
Only here and there could a meeting-house be found 
where an avowed discussion of the subject was per- 
mitted ; Friends were exhorted by those in authority 
to " keep in the quiet," to " avoid all contention," 
and to be careful about " going out into the mix- 
ture." Those ministers who persisted in introducing 
the obnoxious topic into their discourses, were re- 
garded as " subjects of uneasiness." Lucretia Mott, 
as one of these, encountered many difficulties ; but, 
so far from being deterred by them, she sought every 
opportunity to plead the cause of the oppressed, both 
in and out of the limitations of her Society. Al- 
though never employed as a lecturer by the Anti- 
Slavery Society, she did as faithful work as any, in 
her own way. 



After her elder children were grown up, and the 
younger ones well in their teens, she felt at liberty 
to leave home occasionally " to travel in truth's 
service," as is customary among Friends. In doing 
this she was often required to sacrifice, both comfort 
and convenience. While still an acceptable minis- 
ter, she generally carried a "minute" 1 from her 
Monthly Meeting. With this regularly constituted 
authority she traveled through New York State, 
into parts of New England as far as Nantucket, 
and as far south as the northern part of Virginia. 
In one of these journeys, accompanied by her hus- 
band, she attended seventy-one different meetings, 
and spoke more or less at each one. They were 
absent from home seventy days, and traveled a 
distance of twenty-four hundred miles, most of it 
in a stage-coach. Her discourses at such times were 
mainly on religious subjects, but she never failed to 
bear testimony against the sin of slavery. It was 
this " lugging in " (to use the words of her oppo- 
nents) of a distasteful subject which finally brought 
her into such disfavor in the Society, that the time 
came when it seemed doubtful whether the Meeting 
would be willing to furnish her with a " minute." 
During these years she did not ask for their concur- 
rence in prosecuting her labors ; but, through favor 

1 For the benefit of such readers as are unacquainted with this form of 

permission, I quote one " minute," as a sample of all : " opened 

in this meeting a concern she felt to pay a religious visit to the families 

of Friends constituting Monthly Meeting, and some others as way 

may open, likewise to appoint some meetings among those more remotely 
situated in its vicinity; which claiming the attention of Friends, was fully 
united with; and women's meeting informing that they also united there- 
in, she is left at liberty to pursue her prospect as Truth may direct, being 
a minister in unity with us. The clerk is directed to furnish her with a 
copy of this minute on behalf of the meeting." 


and disfavor, she " shunned not to declare the whole 
counsel of God." She continued to travel exten- 
sively, but was careful to avoid any infringement of 
the spirit or letter of the Discipline, which might 
render her liable to be brought before the Meeting 
as an " offender." 

About this time one of her intimate friends wrote, 
for his own entertainment, a descriptive sketch of 
Lucretia Mott. It was never printed, or shown to 
any one but her children, as she thought it too flat- 
tering, but was found after her death among her pa- 
pers, and is given here. It shows nice discrimina- 
tion, as well as an intimate knowledge of her char- 
acter : — 

I scarcely know whether to pronounce Mrs. Mott hand- 
some or not. She appears so to me, though I think it 
probable that she would not, by others, be called more than 
"quite good-looking." Her features, taken separately, do 
not possess that symmetry of proportion which is necessary 
to constitute beauty ; yet the contour of her countenance, 
with its intellectual, sprightly, and agreeable expression, 
appears to me not only interesting, but exceedingly lovely. 
In her person she is under the middle size. She is very 
active in her movements, and when in health, elastic. Her 
manners are very easy, and are marked by a dignified sim- 
plicity and grace almost peculiar to herself. 

But it is the intellectual and moral features of Mrs. 
Mott's character which are most apt to arrest attention. 
Her mind is one of superior order. Always active, it seems 
to abhor inanity as nature does a vacuum. Yet she takes 
no interest in ordinary scientific pursuits. Mineralogy, bot- 
any, geology, and such like natural sciences, have no 
charms for her. The science of morals is the sphere in 
which her mind delights to act ; the pursuit of moral truth 
is the exercise in which her mental powers are most at 



home. Her perceptions are very quick, and generally very 
clear. She reasons logically, though not systematically. 
If she sometimes " jumps at conclusions,"it is the fault not 
so much of her mind as her temperament. She is naturally 
very impatient of delay, and cannot therefore endure what 
appears to her the drudgery of slowly and cautiously collat- 
ing facts, and inquiring into their various bearings and re- 
lations. As a consequence, her premises are often too nar- 
row for her conclusions. She loves poetry, not however 
for the sublimity of its style, or the beauty of its imagery, 
but for the truth and force of its sentiments. 

The intellectual features of Mrs. Mott are much more 
easily described than those of her moral character. I 
should say, however, that benevolence was the presiding 
genius of her heart. "To do good and communicate " is 
not only her delight, but the chosen business of her life. 
She" seeks not her own, but her neighbor's weal." She 
knows how to put the Christian definition on that term 
"neighbor ; " all are regarded as her neighbors who are 
within the reach of her influence. Low as well as high, 
poor as well as rich, bond and free, black and white, friends 
near, and strangers remote, all receive a share in her kind 
offices and benevolent exertions. She forgets herself in 
thinking of the wants of others. In her efforts to promote 
the health of others she neglects to pay proper attention 
to her own. To vindicate the name of a friend she ex- 
poses her own to reproach. In short, she, if any one does, 
" loves her neighbor as herself." 

I need hardly say that love of justice is a conspicuous 
feature in this lady's moral profile. " Fiat justitia ruat 
ccelum " is with her, not a rhetorical flourish, but a gov- 
erning sentiment of her heart. In no question which the 
moral law can arbitrate, and under no circumstances where 
principle is at stake, is she heard to ask, " what is expedi- 
ent ? " " what is policy ? " " what will folks say ? " or " what 
will people think ? " but " what is right f " " what do ab- 


stract truth and justice require ?" This being ascertained, 
the question with her is settled, and her pathway made 
plain. It might be added, that Mrs. Mott is a woman of 
great firmness of purpose, and decision and energy of char- 
acter. With spirits buoyant and apparently inexhaustible, 
she seems to have courage to dare, and fortitude to endure 
anything to which a woman can be called. 

It must not be supposed, however, that because no 
blemishes have been brought to view in this portraiture, 
that none exist to mar the beauty of the original, or that I 
regard her as free from defects. An artist in painting a 
likeness is not obliged to portray blemishes any further 
than may be necessary to his design. By way of per- 
spective, though, it ought to be added that the energy of 
our friend sometimes runs into rashness, and her decision 
into hastiness and willfulness. Her freedom from suspi- 
ciousness, and her readiness to confide in the professions 
of others, frequently expose her, and with justice, to the 
charge of credulity. Her kindness often degenerates into 
a spirit of indulgence, and her goodness into mere good 
nature. She has more knowledge than learning, and yet 
more wisdom than knowledge. Her information, though 
it extends to a very great variety of subjects, is, on many 
of these, superficial. She thinks and reads much, but does 
both without system. Her independence of thought more 
than borders on temerity. 

As a wife, Mrs. Mott is all her husband can desire ; as 
a mother, she is more than her children have any right to 
ask. As a hostess, she is unsurpassed, her hospitality often 
exposing her to imposition from its excess ; and as a friend, 
she is ever faithful and true. As a woman, she has few 

The Female Anti - Slavery Society, as lias been 
said before, was organized immediately after, and 
under the inspiration of the convention of 1833. It 
enrolled the names of many excellent women : Syd- 



ney Ann Lewis, Esther Moore, Lydia White, Sarah 
Pugh, Mary Needles, and others. Mary Grew, its 
admirable secretary for many years, joined it a year 
later. Lucretia Mott was its president during most 
of its existence. Of her in this capacity, Mary Grew 
says : — 

She was always an inspiration to its members, a wise 
counselor, and an active worker in its various depart- 
ments of labor. None of us can ever forget the sweetness 
and dignity with which she moved amoug us ; the pleasant 
humor with which she enlivened our meetings ; the firm- 
ness with which she maintained a principle in all its appli- 
cations ; and the grace with which she yielded her prefer- 
ences where no principle of right was involved. Her 
perception was quick. She readily divined the difference 
between a "tradition of the Elders," and a moral law, and 
as quickly acted accordingly. One illustration of this was 
her course when it was proposed to hold our first Anti- 
Slavery Fair. A majority of the members of the Female 
Anti - Slavery Society were members of the Society of 
Friends ; and by that Society, Fairs were regarded with 
much suspicion, if not absolute disapprobation. So sensibly 
was this pressure felt by some of the abolitionists, that it 
was with difficulty our Society was induced to replenish its 
treasury by such an innovation ; and our first Fair was 
called by the modest name of "Anti-Slavery Sale." But 
Mrs. Mott saw that it was a perfectly legitimate and proper 
measure, and gave her cordial assent and assistance to it 
and its long train of annual successors. In contrast with 
our later ones, this first Fair appears, in retrospect, very 
plain and simple. It was a" day of small things; " and in 
order to diminish expenses and increase the profits, all the 
manual labor was performed by volunteers. I recollect 
going into the Hall one morning at an early hour, and be- 
ing attracted by the appearance of a boy who was assisting 
in sweeping the room. I asked his name, and was told 



that he was the only son of James and Lucretia Mott. 
Their eldest daughters were among the saleswomen at the 
tables, and they were generous purchasers. So great were 
Mrs. Mott's liberality, thoughtfulness, and zeal in purchas- 
ing, that after a few years, I think our saleswomen began 
to rely upon her to clear their tables of unattractive articles 
left on their hands ; chiefly articles of clothing, which were, 
undoubtedly, bestowed on some of her numerous pen- 

The young generation of this day would probably find it 
difficult to conceive of the savage form of opposition to the 
abolitionists, which prevailed during many years. In these 
perilous periods, Mrs. Mott proved her fidelity to her prin- 
ciples of non-resistance, as well as her anti-slavery faith. 
Self-possessed and unshrinking in the stormiest scenes, a 
mob howling around the house, assailing its windows with 
stones, or clamoring within its walls, scattering vitriol among 
the audience, leaping on the platform, drowning the voices 
of the speakers in their own mad cries, she held fast her 
integrity, never compromising in the slightest degree a prin- 
ciple, and never giving her consent that the protection of 
the police should be asked for the maintenance of our rights. 

In the year 1838, when Pennsylvania Hall was burned 
by a mob, and the Mayor of Philadelphia connived at the 
outrage, the furious rioters marched through the streets 
threatening an assault upon the house of James and Lucre- 
tia Mott. Warned of the peril, and aware of the un sated 
wrath of the savage men, Mrs. Mott made preparation for 
the attack by sending her younger children and some arti- 
cles of clothing out of the house, and with her husband and 
a few friends sat in their parlor, quietly awaiting the ap- 
proach of the mob. Before it reached the house, a sugges- 
tion that it should attack the shelter for Colored Orphans 
in another part of the city diverted its course, and the 
rioters proceeded to that work of destruction. During the 
night they passed the house of Edward and Mary Needles, 



prominent abolitionists, who were also serenely expecting 
their arrival. But they satisfied their rage by hideous yells, 
and passed on. 

Another account, by a guest staying with James 
and Lucretia Mott at the time, gives a graphic pic- 
ture of the peril to which their family was exposed, 
and the lawlessness which reigned in the ordinarily 
quiet city. 

On Friday afternoon the rumors were thick and strong 
that this house would be assaulted the coming night. A 
few light pieces of furniture, and some clothing, were re- 
moved to the next house, and in the evening we sat down 
to await the event, whatever it might be. Mr. and Mrs. 
Mott sat near the middle of the room, with many friends 
around them. Thomas went out into the street now and 
then to reconnoitre, and then return and tell us the result 
of his observations. Several young men came in ready for 
any emergency which might require their services, and at 
any rate, to cheer us by their presence and sympathy. 
About eight o'clock Thomas came running in, saying, 
"They're coming! " The excited throng was pouring along 
up Race-street ; we could hear their shouts distinctly ; but 
they crossed Ninth-street without turning up, and for the 
present we were relieved from apprehension. We have 
heard since, that when the mob reached Ninth - street, a 
young man friendly to the family joined in the cry, u On 
to Mott's,"at the head of the gang, and rushed on up Race- 
street, — they blindly following their leader, — and thus 
we escaped. We thought, however, they might still be 
down upon us, and sat in calm expectation of their ad- 
vance ; hearing every few minutes by some of our friends 
who were on the alert what points were occupied, and what 
movements were going on. At length, learning that the 
mob seemed broken and scattered, we concluded we were 
to escape that night at least, and retired to rest. 


During Friday, and several successive days, a number 
of " prudent " Friends called to see Mrs. Mott, and exhort 
her to coolness and calmness ! It was really amusing and 
somewhat ludicrous to hear them, all tremulous with agita- 
tion, gravely counseling her to keep cool, and avoid undue 
excitement ; while she all the time was as calm as a sum- 
mer evening ; perfectly composed, and with all her faculties 
entirely at command. 

Dr. Parrish was much frightened; he seriously coun- 
seled that we gradually dissolve our Anti-Slavery Societies, 
disband all our organizations, and let things go on in the 
old way, so far as Abolition is concerned. I verily believe 
the good Doctor, in his alarm, did, with the very best inten- 
tions, about as much harm, as some who were bent on mis- 

Lucretia Mott also writes on the same subject to 
her son-in-law, Edward M. Davis, then in Paris : — 

6th mo. 18th, 1838. 

My dear Edward, — We have had a season of much 
excitement, since thou left, in the burning of Penn a Hall, 
and the breaking up of our Convention by the mob ; ac- 
counts of which have been sent to thee, in much detail. 
Our proceedings, though not yet published, have greatly 
roused our pseudo-abolitionists, as well as alarmed such 
timid ones as our good Dr. Parrish. He has left no means 
untried to induce us to expunge from our minutes a resolu- 
tion relating to social intercourse with our colored brethren. 
In vain I urged the great departure from order and propri- 
ety in such a proceeding after the Convention had separated. 
He and Charles Townsend were " willing to take the re- 
sponsibility," if the publishing committee would consent to 
have it withdrawn : and when he failed in this effort, he 
called some of the respectable portion of the colored people 
together at Robert Douglas', and advised them not to ac- 
cept such intercourse as was proffered them, and to issue a 
disclaimer of any such wish. This they have not yet done ; 
but it has caused not a little excitement among us. 



In Boston the bone of contention has been the admission 
of another proscribed class — women — to equal partici- 
pation in the doings of the Convention. 

I was glad to hear thou hadst received letters from Wm. 
Lloyd Garrison, introducing thee to Anti-Slavery friends in 
England. Whether or not there is one to Harriet Marti- 
neau, I hope thou wilt call on her, if thou hast opportu- 
nity ; as far as the tendering of our affectionate regard may 
serve as an introduction, avail thyself of it. Assure her 
of the satisfaction we have had in the perusal of her late 
works, and the desire we feel that her pen will not cease to 
be employed in aid of personal and political freedom until 
every vestige of slavery shall be effaced from our land. 

In warm affection, thy mother, L. Mott. 

The story of the burning of Pennsylvania Hall, 
only three days after its dedication " to Liberty and 
the Rights of Man," has been told too often to need 
more than a brief mention here. It was destroyed 
by a mob of Southern medical students, and their 
Northern pro-slavery tools and sympathizers. The 
last meeting held in it was the Anti-Slavery Conven- 
tion of American women, presided over by Mary S. 
Parker, of Boston. It was a company of calm, dig- 
nified, and earnest women, who prosecuted the busi- 
ness for which they were assembled until the usual 
hour for adjournment, unmoved by the mob which 
crowded around the building all day, threw stones 
through the windows, hooted and yelled at the doors, 
and at times even threatened forcible entrance. 
When they left the hall, the streets near by were 
almost impassable, and, not many hours after, the 
sky was reddened by the flames that consumed the 
noble building. But these women, intrepid and de- 
termined, responded to Angelina Grimke Weld's fer- 


vent appeals, and to Lucretia Mott's exhortations to 
be " steadfast and solemn," by reassembling the next 
day in a schoolhouse occupied by Sarah Pugh, — who 
44 regarded the security of private property as of less 
importance than the defense of a great moral princi- 
ple," — and closing their session by renewed pledges 
of labor and devotion. 

Dr. Channing said, when speaking of this great 
outrage, the burning of Pennsylvania Hall : " In that 
crowd was Lucretia Mott, that beautiful example of 
womanhood. Who, that has heard the tones of her 
voice, and looked on the mild radiance of her benign 
and intelligent countenance, can endure the thought 
that such a woman was driven by a mob from the 
spot to which she had gone, as she religiously be- 
lieved, on a mission of Christian sympathy ? " 

This was not the only mob through which her 
courage carried her unhurt. The spirit of persecu- 
tion was abroad. It showed itself under many dis- 
guises : in private detraction, public abuse, and 
sometimes in actual physical violence; but she was 
as fearless, surrounded by a surging crowd of mad- 
men, as if sitting by her own fireside. Her thoughts 
and fears were not for herself. This is strikingly 
shown by an occurrence, a little more than a year 
after the Philadelphia riot, during her religious visit 
to Delaware. She was accompanied by a highly es- 
teemed Friend, Daniel Neall, 1 and his wife. Her 
meetings in various parts of the State were satisfac- 
tory, until they arrived at Smyrna, whither reports 
of their being "abolitionists" and " dangerous and 
incendiary characters " had preceded them. Here, 

1 A well-known Abolitionist, and President of the Pennsylvania Hall 



also, she was listened to quietly ; although she did 
not hesitate to declare her views on the forbidden 
subject. On the way back, however, to the friend's 
house where they were lodging, stones were thrown 
at the carriage, and after tea, as they were all sitting, 
talking together, a man came to the door asking to 
see Daniel Neall, and saying that he was wanted to 
"answer for his disorganizing doctrines." On Friend 
Neall's refusing to go with him, other men appeared, 
who compelled him to accompany them. Fearing 
violence and personal injury, the others followed as 
soon as possible in a carriage, and overtook the mob, 
with whom Lucretia Mott remonstrated on the in- 
justice of maltreating an innocent person, when she 
was the real offender. Her appeals seemed in vain, 
for they hurried the gentle old man off in the dark ; 
but, after a very moderate tarring and feathering, 
they allowed him to rejoin his friends without fur- 
ther persecution. No violence was offered to his 
brave champion, who accomplished her further jour- 
ney without molestation. 

On another memorable occasion, several years 
later, when the annual meeting of the Anti-Slavery 
Society in New York was broken up by rowdies, 
some of the speakers, as they left the hall, were 
roughly handled by the crowd. Perceiving this, 
Lucretia Mott asked the gentleman who was escort- 
ing her, to leave her and help some of the other 
ladies, who were timid. " But who will take care of 
you?" said he. " This man," she answered, quietly 
laying her hand on the arm of one of the roughest of 
the mob ; " he will see me safe through." Though 
taken aback for the moment by such unexpected con- 
fidence, the man responded by conducting her re- 


spectfully through the tumult to a place of safety. 
The next day she went into a restaurant near by the 
place of the meeting, and, recognizing the leader of 
the mob at one of the tables, sat down by him, and 
entered into conversation with him. When he left 
the room, he asked a gentleman at the door who 
that lady was, and on hearing her name, remarked, 
" Well, she 's a good, sensible woman." 

The third, and what proved to be the last, Annual 
Anti-Slavery Convention of Women, was held in the 
Hall of the Pennsylvania Riding School, on May 1st, 
1839, In an early session (I quote from the re- 
port), — 

" Lucretia Mott informed the meeting that a messenger 
from the Mayor had just called her out to inquire at what 
time our Convention would close, as he had some officers 
in waiting whom he would like to disperse. She had re- 
turned answer that she could not tell when our business 
would be finished, but that we had not asked, and, she pre- 
sumed, did not wish his aid. She further stated that the 
Mayor had called upon her a few days before, and inquired 
where the Convention would be held, — if it would be con- 
fined to women, — if to white women, or white and col- 
ored, — if our meetings would be held only in the day- 
time, and how long they would continue ; — expressing his 
determination to prevent, if possible,* the recurrence of last 
year's outrages. He suggested that we should hold our 
meetings in Clarkson Hall, which was already guarded by 
his officers ; that we should not meet in the evening ; 
should avoid unnecessary walking with colored people ; 
and close our Convention as soon as possible. She replied, 
that Clarkson Hall would not, probably, be large enough 
for us ; we did not apprehend danger in meeting at the 
house proposed ; she doubted the necessity of such protec- 



tion as he contemplated. We should not be likely to have 
evening meetings, for to the shame of Philadelphia be it 
spoken, the only building we could procure of sufficient 
size, had but a barn roof, was without ceiling, and could 
not therefore easily be lighted for such a meeting ; that we 
had never made a parade, as charged upon us, of walking 
with colored people, and should do as we had done before, 
— walk with them as occasion offered ; — that she had 
done so repeatedly within the last month, meeting with no 
insult on that account ; it was a principle with us, which 
we could not yield, to make no distinction on account of 
color ; that she was expecting delegates from Boston of 
that complexion, and should probably accompany them to 
the place of meeting." 

This convention, after a comparatively peaceful 
session, adjourned to meet in Boston in 1840 ; but 
before that time came, some of the abolitionists 
made the discovery that men and women could, do 
more efficient work together than alone, and that 
separate organizations were no longer advisable. 
The following letter from Lydia Maria Child, de- 
clining to be present at the convention of 1839, fore- 
shadows the coming advance, and alludes to the hard 
feeling among the anti-slavery ranks consequent 
upon the threatened innovation. 

Northampton, March bth, 1839. 
My dear Friend, — Your letter was received a few 
days since, and it gave us great pleasure to hear from you 
once more. My husband wanted me to write a letter ex- 
pressing sympathy when we heard of your pecuniary losses 
last summer. 1 I tried ; but I threw it up in despair, say- 
ing, " I cannot compassionate such souls for the loss of 

1 This refers to the burning of Penn Factory in which James Mo it was 
part owner. The loss was very heavy. 



worldly goods. Have they not each other ? Have they 
not inward peace, which the world giveth not, and cannot 
take away ? " I could only feel sorry that they who would 
give liberally to the Anti- Slavery cause, and other benevo- 
lent projects, should have less to give away ; but even in 
this point of view, I could not express condolence ; for was 
not money the least of your doings f Could its absence 
impair your moral influence ? 

As to your request, I think it more than doubtful 
whether I can comply with it. There are several obstacles 
in the way. Besides, as I am growing very scrupulous 
about exact truth, I will not disguise that I do not want to 
go to the convention, much as I should like again to visit 
Philad a . I never have entered very earnestly into the plan 
of female conventions and societies. They always seemed 
to me like half a pair of scissors. This feeling led me 
to throw cold water on the project of the Boston Female 
Anti-Slavery Society. You will remind me of the great 
good done by that society. I admit it most cordially. I 
am thankful there were those who could work heartily in 
that way. To pay my annual subscription, and occasion- 
ally make articles for sale, was all I ever could do freely 
and earnestly. I attended the first convention because I 
was urged by friends, and I feared I might fail in my 
duty if I obstinately refused. But I then thought the large 
sum necessarily expended in getting the delegates together 
might be otherwise expended with far more profit to the 
Anti-Slavery cause. This opinion has been confirmed by 
the two conventions already held. For the freedom of 
women, they have probably done something ; but in every 
other j)oint of view, I think their influence has been very 

I should think an Address to the Women of the U. S. 
would be somewhat stale, unless written with peculiar orig- 
inality and piquancy. What think you of a letter to the 
Women of Great Britain, written by yourself, on the sub- 



ject of abstaining from U. S. cotton ? A discriminating 
duty between free and slave labor produce in England 
would strike a heavier blow to slavery here than anything 
else in the wide world. 

In my opinion, the convention last year, in rejecting 
Maria Chapman's " Address to the Clergy," threw away a 
gem " richer than all their tribe." I have long considered 
Mrs. Chapman as one of the most remarkable women of 
the age. Her heart is as large and magnanimous as her 
intellect is clear, vigorous, and brilliant. I am glad Har- 
riet Martineau has done her justice in England, for very 
few appreciate her here. The Westminster article, though 
abounding in small mistakes, appears to me discriminating 
and forcible. I am sorry, however, that it is published. 
Persecution is much better for the abolitionists than praise. 
The immortal radiance of the Truths they are commis- 
sioned to maintain may be mistaken for a glory around 
their own brows. Just at this particular time, too, they are 
not behaving quite well -enough to have the gaze of the 
world fixed upon them. Oh ! how my heart is grieved by 
these dissensions ! I wish our dear and much respected 
friend Garrison would record them more sparingly in his 
paper ; but I suppose he thinks it necessary. In addition 
to disguised enemies of sound Anti-Slavery, I think there is 
now a large class of sincere abolitionists, with narrow views 
of freedom, who require some other paper than the " Lib- 
erator." They are frightened, sincerely frightened, at new 
and bold views. They think the mere utterance of them 
is in danger of resolving all shapes back to chaos. It re- 
quires great faith to trust truth to take care of herself in 
all encounters. 

Great changes have come over my spirit since we last 
met. There has been a great movement, — whether it be 
progress or not, I am not certain. A little while ago I re- 
joiced that I was growing more entirely and universally 
tolerant. Now, I cannot abide the proud, self-sufficient 


word. What right have I, or any other fallible mortal, to 

be tolerant ? 1 

My dear husband unites with me in kind and grateful 
remembrance to your husband, yourself, and children. 
Farewell. Yours very truly, L. M. Child. 

In the year 1839, the British and Foreign Anti- 
Slavery Society of London called a General Confer- 
ence, "to commence on the 12 th of June, 1840, in 
order to deliberate on the best means of promoting 
the interests of the slave, of obtaining his immediate 
and unconditional freedom ; and by every pacific 
measure to hasten the utter extinction of the slave- 
trade. To this conference they earnestly invite the 
friends of the slave of every nation and of every 
clime." The Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Anti- 
Slavery Societies responded to this invitation by 
sending both male and female delegates to the Con- 
vention. They chose their best representatives, 
whether men or women. They had discovered, not 
without bitterness and division in the ranks, " that, 
as concert of action between men and women was im- 
portant to success, so mutual counsel and discussion 
in their business meetings were convenient and prof- 
itable ; " and had therefore admitted women to equal 
membership with men. Those who were opposed to 
this measure, and thought that its advocacy would 
ruin the Anti-Slavery cause, formed what was called 
the "New Organization." In this unhappy differ- 
ence between those who professed to be working 
toward the same end, — the overthrow of the slave 
power, — James and Lucretia Mott, together with 
most of their Pennsylvania associates, sympathized 

1 Lucretia Mott very ofteu quoted this sentence both in public and in 



entirely with Mr. Garrison. With him they were 
delegates to the World's Convention, and with him 
shared the difficulties and annoyances with which 
this "New Organization" contrived to harass them 
while in England. Mr. Garrison alludes, in the let- 
ter that follows, to the trouble that was evidently 
brewing, and which culminated in the Annual Con- 
vention of 1840. 


Boston, April 28th, 1840. 

Esteemed Friend, — It is the sentiment of my heart, 
that, among all the friends and benefactors of the human 
race with whom it has been my privilege to become ac- 
quainted on this side of the Atlantic and in England, no 
one has impressed me more deeply, or filled me with greater 
admiration, on the score of intellectual vigor, moral worth, 
and disinterested benevolence, than yourself. I make this 
avowal with the more freedom, inasmuch as it is no part 
of my character to play the flatterer ; and, particularly, on 
account of my delinquencies as a correspondent. 

When I reflect upon the many kindnesses which have 
been manifested toward me by yourself and your estimable 
husband, running through a period of ten years, and then 
remember how few have been the expressions of gratitude 
on my part, and how seldom I have written to either of 
you, I am filled with surprise and regret. Believe me, 
however, that, though my epistles have been " few and far 
between, " — though I have not been voluble in the ex- 
pression of my gratitude, — I have felt more than words 
could express, and shall ever retain a lively sense of your 
goodness. Well do I know that you neither ask nor desire 
a profusion of acknowledgments for anything that you 
have done, and therefore I have abstained from dealing in 
" words, words, words," even though those words would 
have been spoken in all sincerity. 


For the tracts recently put forth by " Friends," on the 
subject of slavery, which you have kindly forwarded to 
me. be pleased also to accept my thanks. These tracts all 
contain excellent sentiments ; and yet in nearly all of them 
something is wanting. The phraseology of Friends' docu- 
ments is generally peculiar, and sometimes obscure. The 
duty of immediate emancipation, they do not set forth in 
explicit terms ; and the plunderers of God's poor are ad- 
dressed in a style far different from that used by Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. For example in " an Address to a 
portion of our Southern Brethren," etc., which is written in 
admirable temper of mind, there seems to be something like 
an attempt to propitiate the spirit of these cruel and un- 
godly oppressors, in a way which I do not like. The sec- 
ond paragraph commences — " We are aware of the pecul- 
iar and trying situation wherein you are placed, in relation 
to slavery. You have been reared from the tenderest in- 
fancy, as in its lap," etc. I do not regard this as either a 
philosophical, or the Christian method to bring such men 
to repentance. It really looks like hunting up excuses for 
their nefarious conduct ! At least, they will not be slow to 
regard them as palliatives for defacing the image of God, 
and transforming human beings into cattle and creeping 
things. God, in calling individuals and nations to repent- 
ance, never tells them, in limine, how unfortunate they 
have been, and how trying is their situation ; but He always 
takes it for granted that they are without excuse, and calls 
upon them to break off their sins by righteousness with- 
out delay. The "Address" speaks of the circumstances 
thrown around the Southern man-thief {you will pardon 
me for using " plain language," though I am not a member 
of the Society of Friends), as "leading them to believe it 
lawful and right to hold their fellow-creatures in uncondi- 
tional bondage." They believe no such thing ; they never 
did, they never can believe it ! What ! talk of those who 
" hold these truths to be self-evident ; that all men are 



created equal ; that they are endowed by their Crea- 
tor with certain inalienable rights ; that among these 
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ; " talk of 
such believing it " lawful and right " to trade in slaves, and 
souls of men, to keep back the hire of the laborer by fraud, 
to hold their fellow-beings in chains and slavery ! ! It is 
all moonshine, and can never melt ice. 

My dear friend, Edward Needles, is somewhat disturbed 
by a resolution, which was lately adopted by the Anti- 
Slavery Society at Lynn, severely censuring the Friends, as 
a body in the United States, for their timidity and indiffer- 
ence in relation to the Anti-Slavery cause. The Lord for- 
bid that I should accuse them of what they are not guilty ; 
but, while I am willing to make many honorable excep- 
tions, I am nevertheless constrained to rank them among 
the corrupt sects of the age. 

I have scarcely left room to say how delighted I am to 
learn that you and James are soon to embark for England, 
in order to be at the " World's Convention." My heart 
leaped at the intelligence ; for I could not be reconciled to 
the thought that you were to remain behind. I have only 
to regret that I shall not be able to go over in the same 
packet with you both ; but duty requires me to be at the 
annual meeting of the Parent Society, which is pregnant 
with good or evil to our sacred cause. It will be a trying 
occasion, but I think the right will prevail. A most afflict- 
ing change has come over the views and feelings of some 
of our old friends and co-workers : especially in regard to 
myself personally; whom they seem now to hate and de- 
spise, more than they once apparently loved and honored. 
My peace and happiness, however, are derived from God, 
in whom I live and shall rejoice evermore : therefore, it is, 
it will ever be, in my estimation, a small thing to be judged 
of man's judgment. 

It is somewhat uncertain, whether I shall go to England, 
because it is impossible to foresee what may transpire at 


the New York m s , but it is my intention to go, if practi- 

My best regards to J ames, and to all your children — in 
which my dear wife cordially unites. 
Heaven bless and preserve you ! 

Your grateful friend, Wm. Lloyd Garrison. 

The health of Lucretia Mott at this time was 
much broken, and her condition at times so critical, 
that it seemed as if life could not be continued much 
longer. It was hoped that the sea-voyage might 
prove beneficial. She had naturally a strong consti- 
tution, but was careless of herself, and continually 
overtaxed her strength ; sometimes it seemed as if 
the frail body could not keep pace with her amazing 
mental activity and enthusiasm : but it was seen af- 
terwards that this spiritual vitality was the sustain- 
ing influence of her long life. To her indomitable 
spirit, each fresh field of labor called her impera- 
tively to renewed exertion, and she welcomed the 
mission to England accordingly. No mere trip for 
health would have tempted her to leave home. Ow- 
ing to severe pecuniary losses, it might have been dif- 
ficult for her and her husband to bear the expense of 
this journey, had not a kind friend, and distant rela- 
tive, sent them the generous gift of a sum of money, 
with the following cordial note. This thoughtful 
attention was the more gratefully valued, because of 
the sympathy and appreciation it evinced, at a time 
when friends w^ere growing fewer and fewer, and the 
difficult way was being made more difficult, by stud- 
ied neglect and unkindness. 

Dear Friend, Lucretia Mott, — Understanding thou 
hast an appointment to attend the World's Convention, if 



it suits thy views, and thou feels it thy duty to go, I am 
aware many necessaries must be provided for thy comfort 
on shipboard, and elsewhere, and being desirous of contrib- 
uting thereto, the annexed is offered for thy use ; and I 
hope thou wilt feel no hesitation in appropriating it, excus- 
ing the liberty I have taken. The undertaking may appear 
formidable, but in performing an act of duty, I have no 
doubt hard things will be made easy. And if anything can 
possibly be done to ameliorate the condition of the poor 
suffering slaves, it cannot fail of yielding peace and conso- 
lation to every feeling mind. 

My time is limited to a very short space, or I would not 
send thee such a sad looking scrip. 

With love and good wishes, thy very affectionate cousin, 

Elizabeth Rodman. 

From the answer I quote only that part in direct 
acknowledgment, the rest not being pertinent. 

... I feel regret for the delay in acknowledging the 
letter containing thy generous offer, and hope thou wilt not 
attribute it to any indifference on our part, for we are sen- 
sibly impressed by thy kindness. I am far from feeling 
that my almost worn-out efforts are worthy thy estimate of 
them; — and yet I would not undervalue any power be- 
stowed for the advocacy of human freedom ; and while 
life and strength enable, my ardent nature prompts me to 
work on, well rewarded in the evidence that the labor is 
not in vain. . . . 

Many at the present day may wonder, that it was 
possible thus to receive assistance without feeling 
under too heavy an obligation ; but customs and cir- 
cumstances then were very different from ours now ; 
and perhaps, in the absorbed and devoted life of an 
abolitionist, there was small chance for fictitious 
pride. Reformers were used to helping, and being 


helped ; and although it seldom came to the lot of 
my grandparents to be helped, they had that true 
humility of spirit which could receive, as well as 
give. It was very likely easier in this case, from the 
fact that they belonged to a Society, in which it was 
not an unusual proceeding to furnish means to ena- 
ble Friends to accomplish their religious journeys ; 
indeed, the Discipline provides that " when the con- 
cern of a Friend for the performance of a religious 
visit ... is united with, . . . that the monthly 
meeting do carefully examine and see that the ser- 
vice may not be impeded, or the individual improp- 
erly burthened, for want of requisite means to defray 
the expenses of such a journey." 

Another friend, Joseph Warner, of Philadelphia, 
also contributed liberally toward this journey. About 
a year afterwards, James Mott, feeling better satisfied 
to consider his contribution a loan, returned the 
amount; but the next day it was sent back, with 
this note : " J. W. considers the money was well ex- 
pended, and does not feel easy to receive it." 

In addition to their credentials as regular dele- 
gates from the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, 
they were given a certificate from the " Association 
of Friends for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery," 
signed by many prominent members, and a " min- 
ute " from the Monthly Meeting to which they be- 
longed. This was given voluntarily by the meeting, 
without their " opening their prospect" as a religious 
concern. It showed their standing in the Society of 
Friends, and stated that Lucretia Mott was an ap- 
proved minister; but it was not expected, whatever 
might be their status at home, that any certificate 
from their meeting would give them place with the 



Orthodox Friends in England. Care was promptly 
taken by the Orthodox party in Philadelphia to no- 
tify Friends in England of the proposed visit, with 
the information that James and Lucretia Mott were 
not in unity with them. This was a wholly unnec- 
essary trouble, for no attempt to obtrude themselves, 
or to pass for other than they were, was contem- 
plated. Nevertheless, during their sojourn in Great 
Britain, some Friends felt very uneasy, — and, as 
will be seen in Lucretia Mott's diary, given in the 
next chapter, — ■ embraced every opportunity to ex- 
press disunity with the " heretics," and to warn the 
"true fold" of their erring sinfulness. This duty 
once performed, however, there was a general dis- 
position to show civility to the strangers. Indeed, 
their company was so much sought after, and the at- 
tentions they received from many sources were so ab- 
sorbing, that they had no regrets or disappointments 
to feel because of any social omissions, or the neg- 
lect of that sectarian recognition to which they had 
laid no claim. 

While in England, Lucretia Mott, for the first and 
only time, kept a diary ; probably with the intention 
of writing out in full at some future time the inci- 
dents of so interesting a visit. In her busy life that 
time never came, and the diary remains the brief, 
disjointed account it was originally. While in some 
parts we wish for further detail, and in others might 
be satisfied with less, as a whole it is so characteris- 
tic of the writer, that it is given here, with very few 




We sailed from New York, 5 th mo. 7 th , 1840, in the 
fine packet ship Roscoe, Capt. Huttleston, a quiet comman- 
der, and very kind. Our company was Henry and Mary 
Grew, Sarah Pugh, Abby Kimber, Eliz th J. Neall, Isaac 
Winslow and daughter Emily, Abby Southwick, and 
George Bradburn. Among the thirty-two cabin passengers, 
Henry Morley of London, Arthur Biggs of York, and 
Frederick A. Whitewell of Boston, were most companion- 
able. Much time was passed in the round-house, and on 
the sides of the ship, watching the billowy deep, and look- 
ins afar for sails. Much interesting conversation on slav- 
ery with West Indians, particularly a Dr. M'Knaught; on 
theology, with sectarians ; and on politics, with tories and 
haters of O'Connell. No conversions; "bread cast upon 
the waters." Isaac Winslow, beloved of all, in his abun- 
dant kindness, distributed freely from his supplies of or- 
anges, lemons, soda, and other comforts and luxuries. E. 
Neall, the life of our company, and favorite of the Captain. 
Meeting on First-day. Father Grew read and preached. 
Some additional remarks well received. 1 

5 th mo. 28 th . — Landed at Liverpool, and went to the 
Adelphi Hotel. Lodging rooms nice, with curtained beds, 
and night-caps provided for gentlemen. Many things dif- 
ferent from what we had seen before. Tea always made 
at table, with urn of water generally, or else a small tea- 
kettle in the fire-place, with a heater in it ; dry toast always 

1 Undoubtedly made by herself. It is noticeable that she mentions her- 
self throughout the diary in this obscure way. 



in a rack. Walked out, and admired all but the brick 
buildings, which, rough and black, are inferior to ours. 
Police officers at every turn, always civil and ready to di- 
rect strangers. William Rathbone and wife called, and 
engaged us to tea. E. Wilson also invited us to his coun- 
try place, which kindness we had not time to accept. James 
Martineau and J. Townsend also called. In going from 
Liverpool to Chester, when crossing the Mersey in the 
ferry-boat, a man inquired if that " old lady" had crossed 
the Atlantic ! . . . Top of coach to Chester. . . . Outside 
seats to Manchester, passing fine country seats, and exten- 
sive artificial forests. 

First-day, 31 s< . — Went to Friends' Meeting ; silent; a 
handsome house with nice benches, all cushioned. Friends 
wearing high bonnets, and veils. Afternoon at the Sunday 
School at Isaac Crewdson's church, where the children are 
instructed in the importance of baptism, and supper, and 
orthodox faith. Accepted invitation to tea with John Cock- 
burn and wife, and went with them to evening meeting ; 
Isaac Crewdson, pastor, with two assistants. After a short 
silence and prayer, a chapter was read from Luke, followed 
by a sermon by Isaac Crewdson ; then silence, prayer, and 
benediction. The house is built after the manner of 
Friends, but more ornamented, having maple benches with 
green cushions and footstools, and the floor carpeted with 
coarse India matting, as in most meeting houses we saw. 
The gallery is small, designed for only five or six, to the 
exclusion of women. Some Friends in England are also 
of the opinion that women would not be called to that office, 
if men were faithful to their vocation ; and these claim to 
be the legitimate descendants of George Fox and his noble 
and worthy cotemporaries ! Isaac Crewdson invited us to 
go home and sup with him ; gave us books explanatory of 
their tenets, and treated us kindly and charitably. We 
respected their zeal and sincerity, while we mourned such 
a declension from the simplicity of the faith of the Society 
of Friends. 


6 th mo. 1 st , Second-day. — William Nield called, and pro- 
vided a guide to the cotton factories, where the women 
and children looked better than we expected to find them. 
Women earn 9s. a week; girls from 3s. to 6s.; men, 16s. 
Visited some of their homes, which seemed quite comfort- 
able. . . . 

We learned that Mary S. Lloyd was going to Wales, and 
would not be at the Convention, which is a disappoint- 
ment, as she was the first to suggest the formation of Fe- 
male Anti-Slavery societies in America. William Harrold 
called ; was kind and polite in giving us directions how to 
proceed on our journey. . . . 

2 nd , Third-day. — Coach to Warwick, twenty miles. Vis- 
ited the Hospital of the Twelve Brethren ; a bequest of 
long standing, originally for soldiers, but now for trades- 
men, uniformed, dressed up like gentlemen, living in idle- 
ness on the labor of others ; miscalled charity. A pleas- 
ant kitchen, where I sat some time admiring the old 
furniture like Grandfather Folger's ; three-cornered chairs, 
large andirons, jack for roasting, large bellows, pipe box, 
iron and brass candlesticks, &c. . . . 

o rd , Fourth-day. — - To Warwick Castle. . . . Rode to 
Kenilworth ; ruins indeed ! more interesting to the girls 
than to us. In my view, a " catch-penny." . . . Post- 
chaise to Woodstock, passing through a beautiful coun- 
try. . . . 

4'*, Fifth-day. — Posted from Woodstock to Oxford to 
breakfast. Colleges and churches galore. . . . Oxford to 
Slough Railroad on top of coach ; rail to Windsor, where 
a stranger recommended us to the " Crown " inn, clean, but 
not gratifying to pride. . . . Eton boys celebrating George 
Ill's birthday, a fete they are unwilling to give up. In 
the evening we saw beautiful fire-works on the Thames, 
thousands witnessing the scene. 

5 th , Sixth-day. — To the Castle, and through the magnifi- 
cent apartments ; thence to the chapel during morning ser- 


vice. I could not understand the indistinct speaker; the 
boys' responses and chauntings, with banners waving over 
their heads, bordered on the ridiculous. It was war and the 
church united. . . . The cenotaph of the Princess Char- 
lotte is most moving — most melancholy ! . . . From 
"Windsor to London, twenty miles, top of coach, our coach- 
man communicative, and as we generally found them, more 
intelligent than ours in America. They are well-dressed, 
would-be gentlemen, seldom leaving their seats, and giving 
no assistance in changing horses. 

We saw gypsies' carts, and a few of the " vagabond and 
useless tribe." Women in the fields weeding; others, with 
small children, gathering manure in their aprons and sell- 
ing it in small quantities. The road was swept and scraped 
like our streets, and the walking so good that women 
may well walk five or six miles in the country without 
dread or fatigue. As we drew near London, we passed 
through places familiar to us by name, Brentford, Houn- 
slow Heath, Kingsbridge, Piccadilly, Hyde Park, Charing 
Cross, Strand, Temple Bar, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, St. 
Paul's, Cheapside, gazing and admiring, till our coachman 
turned into Friday Lane, and up a dark court, where we 
dismounted in the rain at the " Saracen's Head," and were 
ushered into a dismal, dark, back room, — " and this," we 
exclaimed, " is London ! " We did not rest until we found 
a more comfortable lodging, at Mark Moore's, No. 6 Queen 
St. Place, Southwark Bridge, Cheapside, where we met 
with many abolitionists, among whom a number from 
America, James G. Birney, H. B. Stanton and his nice 
Elizabeth, E. Galusha, Nathan 1 Colver, Wm. Knibb and 
W. Clark from Jamaica, two colored men, Barrett, and 
Beckford, and Samuel Prescod from Barbadoes. 

Seventh-day, 6 th . Joseph Sturge breakfasted with us, 
and begged our submission to the London Committee, ac- 
knowledging that he had received letters from America on 
the subject, and reading one from Thomas Clarkson. He 


invited us to tea at the A. S. rooms, with such of the del- 
egates as had arrived. We endeavored to show him the in- 
consistency of excluding women delegates, but we soon 
found he had prejudged, and made up his mind to act with 
our New-Organization, therefore all reasoning was lost 
upon him and our appeals made in vain. Elizabeth Pease 1 
called, a fine, noble-looking young woman. The evening 
visit to the A. S. rooms was pleasant and interesting. It 
is a common practice in England when committees meet, to 
have a simple tea and invite company to join them, after 
which they appoint a chairman, and make the conversation 
general. Wm. A. Crewdson was chairman. Conversation 
on the expediency of continuing such conventions ; inquired 
if their, as well as our, recent efforts were based on the 
duty of " immediate emancipation ; " on being answered 
affirmatively, gave them to understand that this idea hav- 
ing originated with E. Heyrick, a woman, when the con- 
vention should be held in America, we should not contem- 
plate the exclusion of women. Many spoke kindly to us, 
some responded " hear hear ! " all were pleasant. Eliza- 
beth Pease was the only female member present beside our- 

First-day, § th mo., 1 th . — Went to Grace Church St. meet- 
ing ; no preaching ; two hours' formal silence ; none spoke 
to us. In the afternoon to St. Paul's ; a pretty good ser- 
mon, but the service formal. It is a mockery for sensible, 
intelligent people to employ children to chant and make 
responses. . . . The Morgans of Birmingham and C. E. 
Lester called. . . . 

Second-day, 6 th mo., 8 th . — Breakfasted at Joseph Pease's 
lodgings, in company with Professor Adam. Many call- 
ers. Tea at the A. S. rooms, where we were introduced to 
many whom we had not before met, Jonathan Backhouse, 
Josiah Forster and his brother Robert, Wm. Smeal, Wm. 
Ball, Anne Knight, George Alexander, George Thompson 
and others. . . . 

1 Afterwards wife of Dr. Nichol, the astronomer. 



9 th , Tliird-day. — George Thompson and Rob't. Doug- 
lass to breakfast. Wendell Phillips and wife called, and 
Cousin Starbuck. Dined at Jacob Post's. Evening party 
at Mark Moore's. W. D. Crewdson and Wm. Ball came 
with official information that women were to be re- 
jected. . . . 

Fourth-day, 10'*. — Joseph Sturge, and Scales, called to 
endeavor to reconcile us to our fate. We called a meeting 
of women to protest, joined by Wm. Adam, Geo. Thompson, 
and Wendell Phillips. Tea again at A. S. rooms. Wm. 
Edward Forster very kind and attentive. The subjects of 
conversation were more diversified than usual, colonization, 
British India, etc. When free produce was introduced, 
some called on me to speak; replied, that we had been 
asked why we could not get the gentlemen to say for us all 
we wished, so now I would request Henry Grew or James 
Mott to speak for me ; they insisted on my going on, so I 
gave some rubs on our proposed exclusion ; cries of " hear! 
hear ! " Offended C, who told me I should have been 
called to order if I had not been a woman. 

Fifth-day, II th . — Wm. Boultbee and Wm. Edward 
Forster breakfasted with us. Met again about our exclu- 
sion, and agreed on the following protest : — 

" The American Women Delegates from Penn a to the 
World's Convention, would present to the Com. of the 
British and Foreign A. S. Society their grateful acknowl- 
edgments for the kind attentions received by them since 
their arrival in London. But while as individuals they re- 
turn thanks for these favors, as delegates from the bodies 
appointing them, they deeply regret to learn by a series of 
resolutions passed at a meeting of the Committee, bearing 
reference to credentials from the Massachusetts Society, 
that it is contemplated to exclude women from a seat in the 
Convention, as co-equals in the advocacy of Universal Lib- 
erty. The Delegates will duly communicate to their con- 



stituents, the intimation which these resolutions convey ; in 
the mean time, they stand prepared to cooperate to any 
extent and in any form, consistent with their instructions, 
in promoting the just objects of the Convention, to whom 
it is presumed will belong the power of determining the 
validity of any claim to a seat in that body. 

" On behalf of the Delegation, 
" Very respectfully, 
" 6 th mo. 11 th , 1840. " Sarah Pugh." 

Sixth-day, <o th mo., 12 th . — The World's Convention, alias 
the " Conference of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery 
Society," assembled, with such guests as they chose to in- 
vite. We were kindly admitted behind the bar, politely con- 
ducted to our seats, and introduced to many whom we had 
not before met ; Dr. Bowring, William Ashurst, and a 
Mrs. Thompson, grand-daughter of Lady Middleton, who 
first suggested to Wilberforce some action in Parliament on 
slavery. I introduced William Forster to Sarah Pugh, as 
orthodox ; he begged there might be no allusion to differ- 
ences between us, saying, "Thou touches me in a tender 
spot ; I remember thee with much affection in Baltimore in 
1820." The meeting was opened in a dignified manner, in 
silence, those who wished prayer being informed that the 
next room was appropriated to them. Thomas Clarkson's 
entrance was deeply interesting, accompanied by his 
daughter-in-law, and her little son, his only remaining rep- 
resentative. He was received standing, and in silence ; 
when he had taken the chair, all resumed their seats, and a 
solemn pause of some minutes followed. Joseph Sturge 
then introduced him, briefly, but impressively. 1 . . . Most 

1 Thomas Clarkson, in his opening address, said : — 

"I stand before you as a humble individual, whose life has been most 
intimately connected with the subject which you are met this day to con- 
sider. I was formerly, under Providence, the originator, and am now un- 
happily the only surviving member of the committee, which was first 
instituted in this country, in the year 1787, for the abolition of the slave- 
trade. My dear friend and fellow-laborer, Mr. Wilberforce, who was one 


of the speeches being reported in the papers, renders it un- 
necessary to record any part here. . . . 

The Friends present were nearly all opposed to women's 
admission. We were told that the secret of it was, that 
our coming had been announced in London Yearly Meet- 
ing, and that they were put on their guard against us, as 
not of their faith. . . . 

Seventh-day, 13'\ — Sat with the family during their 
worship, as was our practice, when not otherwise engaged. 
E. Galusha led the exercises, and in his prayer was rather 
personal, praying at us, rather than for us. He was re- 
plied to according to his deserts. These occasions some- 
times furnished opportunity for explaining sentiments that 
had been misrepresented. Our host, Mark Moore, offered 
his services to get the use of a room belonging to their con- 
gregation ( Baptist ) for us to have a religious meeting in. 
He succeeded so far as to have some notice given, when 
some Friends, hearing of it, came forward and represented 
us in such manner as to induce them to withdraw the 
grant. The Unitarians then offered theirs, which we 
gladly accepted, and for which we were more than ever de- 
nounced. Dr. Hutton, of Carter Lane, kindly called to 
see us from Wm. Adam's recommendation. Jonathan 
Backhouse called to invite the orthodox part of our com- 
pany to Samuel Gurney's the next day ; would ask the 
others, but where there were young people present, they 
were afraid of our principles ! . . . Meeting very interest- 

of them, is, as you know, dead, and here I may say of him, that there 
never was a man, either dead or living, to whom your cause was more in- 
debted, than to him. . . . 

" My dear friends, I was invited, many months ago, to be at this meet- 
ing; but old age and infirmities, being lame and nearly blind, besides be- 
ing otherwise seriously afflicted at other times, gave me no hope of 
attending. But I have been permitted to come among you, and I rejoice 
in it. ... I can say with truth, that though my body is fast going to de- 
cay, my heart beats as warmly in this sacred cause, now in the eighty- 
first year of my age, as it did at the age of twenty-four, when I first took 
it up. And I can say further, with truth, that if I had another life given 
me to live, I would devote it to4ne same subject." . . . 


ing ; roll called, and titles given to the worthy and the un- 
worthy. J. C. Fuller answered to his, "I'm no squire." 

First-day, 14 <A . — Went to Devonshire House meeting. 
Rec d a note from Thomas Clarkson, addressed to the 
" American Ladies " : — 

My dear Friends, — Being very much indisposed to- 
day, and on that account obliged to leave London to-mor- 
row for the country for a few days, where I can get a little 
ease and quiet, I should not like to take my departure 
without paying my personal respects to you, and acknowl- 
edging the obligations which our sacred cause owes to you 
for having so warmly taken it up, and protected it on your 
side of the water, against the attacks of its adversaries ; 
and this in times of threatened persecution. We owe you 
also a debt of gratitude for having made the sacrifice of 
leaving your families and encountering the dangers of the 
ocean to serve it. If you will permit me, I will call upon 
you for half an hour for this purpose, and bring with me 
my daughter and little grandson. 

I am, ladies, with the most cordial esteem and gratitude, 
your sincere friend, Thomas Clarkson. 

Much preparation for him. He came attended by Jo- 
seph Sams, Anne Knight, and others. He made touching 
speeches to several ; and when Elizabeth Neall was intro- 
duced as the grand-daughter of Warner Mifflin, he ex- 
claimed with emotion, " Dear child ! he was the first man 
who liberated his slaves unconditionally." A short address 
to him from the oldest delegate. J. Sams invited James 
and self to go home with them and sup with our venerable 
friend, but a previous engagement at Dr. Hutton's pre- 
vented. Calls from E. Reid and Julia Smith, friends of 
H. Martineau. . . . 

Second-day, lb th . — Sir Eardly Wilmot introduced; first 
in parliament to oppose the apprenticeship, and the Hill 



Cooley oppression. O'Connell, excellent and amusing, came 
to us ; thanked him for pleading our cause, but rejected 
complimentary speeches in lieu of robbed rights. . . . Dined 
at E. Reid's, with Julia Smith and Eliza Ashurst ; every- 
thing very nice. E. Reid manifested much sympathy with 
us in our exclusion. . . . Tea at Irish Friends' lodgings, 
Richard and Hannah Webb. Much interesting conversa- 
tion. R. Webb and R. Allen walked home with us, two 

Third-day, 16' A . — O'Connell made us another visit; 
said he was not satisfied with the decision of the convention 
respecting us, whereupon he received a note asking for his 
sentiments, which he readily sent us. 1 Anne Knight intro- 
duced Wm. Martin, of Cork, who first influenced Father 
Matthew in the Temperance cause. It is gratifying that 
this important subject has begun to awaken wine-drinking 
England. Lunch at eating-house- large company. Tea at 
E. Reid's in company with Joshua Marriage, Anne Knight, 
John Keep, and William Dawes. Cabs and omnibuses a 
great convenience in this widely-extended city. 

Fourth-day, 11 th . — Heard that Garrison, Rogers, Remond, 
and Adams had arrived. Left the convention at two o'c. to 
go to a meeting of the Prison Society at Westminster ; 
house full of aristocracy and nobility, but not specially in- 
teresting, as we were losing that which was to us more so, 
at the convention. Elizabeth Fry gave an account of her 

1 To Daniel O'Connell, M. P., — The rejected delegates from Amer- 
ica to the "General Anti-Slavery Conference " are desirous to have the 
opinion of one of the most distinguished advocates of universal liberty, as 
to the reasons urged by the majority for their rejection, viz. : that the ad- 
mission of women, being contrary to English usage, would subject them to 
ridicule, and that such recognition of their acknowledged principles would 
prejudice the cause of human freedom. 

Permit me, then, on behalf of the delegation, to ask of Daniel O'Connell 
the favor of his sentiment, as incidentally expressed in the meeting on the 
morning of the 13th inst. It will oblige his sincere friend, 


London, Sixth mo., 17th, 1840. 

For O'Connell's reply, see Appendix, p. 471. 



labors on the continent. She was unassuming, meek, and 
modest, but nothing very striking. She has done immense 
good to the poor prisoner. ... At our lodgings met Wm. 
L. Garrison and party, " with joy and sorrow too." They 
had resolved not to enter the convention where we were 
excluded. We reasoned with them on the subject, but 
found them fixed. . . . 

Fifth-day, 18 tA Present of flowers from Eliza A. Ash- 

urst, and strawberries from Anne Knight. . . . Lady Byron 
at the meeting. I handed her my letter of introduction 
from George Combe. . . . Several went up to welcome 
Garrison and party, and some tried to introduce them to 
our new-organized meeting, but were hushed. Wendell 
Phillips tried to read their credentials, but was put down 
with a kind of promise that he should have a hearing the 
next day. 

Sixth-day, 19'*. — Wendell Phillips again tried to intro- 
duce Garrison and company, without success ; some angry 
debate. We all felt discouraged. Joseph Sturge came to 
us, — doubted whether the ladies could have a meeting ; 
it was feared other subjects would be introduced, and he 
partook of that fear. We are much disappointed to find so 
little independent action on the part of women. . . . 

Seventh-day, 20 th . — Amelia Opie stopped us to speak as 
we went into the meeting, and said, " You are held in high 
estimation, and have raised yourselves by coming." Lady 
Byron sat upstairs with Garrison and Remond, conversing 
freely with the latter. . . . The convention was not dis- 
posed to entertain the British India question, though many 
had something to say on it. Colver made a speech betray- 
ing his want of confidence in moral power, depending too 
much on appeals to avarice, and holding, that with the 
slaveholder, all else would be powerless. Many were un- 
sound on abstinence from slave produce. J. Crewdson used 
to be particular, until he considered that if all should do 
so, the Manchester mills must stop, and the people starve ; 



so forthwith he let fall his testimony, and now aids in per- 
petuating our slavery, lest his own countrymen should have 
to seek other business. I. Price, of Wales, once so zeal- 
ous as to have the cotton linings taken out of his vests, and 
to deny himself of many sweets, etc., all at once found he 
might be carried too far, so he sagely concluded to im- 
merse his conscience to the full in slave-gotten goods. 
Then N. Colver told how tender he once was on the sub- 
ject ; how be had gathered his little ones about him, and 
explained to them the cruelty and wickedness of such par- 
ticipancy, and such was the effect of his fatherly labors 
that those children could n't have been hired to touch a 
sugar-plum or a cake ! when he too discovered self-denial 
was not easy, and gave it up, leaving his children full lati- 
tude in the gain of oppression. Geo. Bradburn too, from 
whom we might have expected better things, added his ar- 
guments to the wrong side ; and all the comfort we had, 
was in beholding how weak they all were. Plainly as all 
this sophistry might have been exposed, the weak and 
flimsy arguments were suffered to pass almost unanswered. 
Henry Grew was not in the meeting at this time. Chas. 
Stuart's mind was swallowed up in the littleness of putting 
down woman ; James Mott, discouraged, took little interest 
in the proceedings of the convention. Nathaniel Colver 
then for the first time sallied forth to our bar, saying, 
" Now, if the spirit moves you to speak on this subject, 
say on, — you will be allowed to say what you wish." Out 
of the abundance of a full heart, and an indignant spirit, 
here might words have been uttered ! But if the Psalmist 
withheld his mouth even from good when the wicked were 
before him, even so now ! . . . Our Free Produce Society 
will have to double their diligence, and do their own work ; 
and so must American abolitionists generally, and espe- 
cially women. George Bradburn afterwards confessed that 
he said what he did, more to bring out others than in full 
persuasion of the truth of his arguments, expecting a glare 
of light to be thrown on the subject by several present. 


Dined at J. and A. Braithwait's lodgings in company 
with Garrison, Rogers, whom I like better and better, and 
others. The Braithwaits, though not in full unity with the 
measures of the British and Foreign Society, were very 
open and kind, and more liberal to us than we expected. 
Returning to the meeting, met Lady Byron in the entry ; 
she had called on us and left her address. Wm. Boultbee's 
speech was good, as principle was dwelt upon rather than 
expediency ; " the highest expediency is to act from prin- 
ciple." H. B. S. not so strong in confidence in moral 
power as desirable. Elizabeth Stanton gaming daily in our 
affections. . . . 

First-day, § th mo. ,21 st . — Went to meeting with Susan 
Hutton, who called for us, and heard her husband preach 
very well. Went in two cabs to William Ashurst's to dine ; 
met there Jas. and Elizabeth Pease, Harriet Martineau's 
mother and brother, Dr. Epps, homoeopathic, and very 
liberal, and William and Mary Howitt ; a visit full of in- 
terest and delight. . . . 

Second-day, 22 nd . — Could no longer have the use of Free 
Mason's Hall. Met in Friends' Meeting-House, Grace 
Church St. Front seat upstairs appropriated to " rejected 
delegates ; " did n't like being so shut out from the mem- 

In the evening at our lodgings there was much discus- 
sion on the protest. 1 J. Scoble acknowledged that he 
brought the word from America about the appointment of 
women ; much said and felt. Wendell Phillips took an 
active part, as did his whole-souled wife. Wm. Edward 
Forster suggested alterations, aside ; a noble young man ; 
I like him very much. He often comes to our lodgings. 2 

Third-day, 23 rd . — Last day of the Convention. Some 

1 A "protest against certain proceedings of the Committee of the 
British and Foreign Anti- Slavery Society, and of the Convention," 
read on the last day of the Convention by Wendell Phillips, and signed 
by William Adam, Wendell Phillips, Jonathan P. Miller, Charles Ed- 
wards Lester, James Mott, George Bradburn, and Isaac Winslow. 

2 Afterwards Right Hon. W. E. Forster, Chief Secretary for Ireland. 



excitement about the protest. We were honored with seats 
down stairs, so that we could hold conference with those 
who chose to come to us. Dined at Joseph Pease's with 
Win. Boultbee, who said he was on good terms with all on 
theological points, as he never asked their opinions, and 
never told his own. . . . Protest offered. Colver boldly 
and impudently moved that it be laid on the table. Wm. 
Scales made excellent closing remarks, that although on 
some subjects they had had conflicting sentiments, dividing 
them " distinct as the billows," yet he believed there was 
unity enough in our common cause to make us again " one 
as the sea ; " and so the Convention closed ! 

Fourth-day, 24**. — Exeter Hall meeting under the direc- 
tion of British and Foreign Soc y . Com. Women delegates 
excluded from this too, altho' a seat of honor was provided ; 
Duke of Sussex in the chair. Joseph Sturge announced 
him ; " did n't wish to prevent the usual expression for his 
Royal Highness," but when Thomas Clarkson entered, 
begged they would not receive him in that way. E. Fry 
and Duchess of Sutherland were introduced with much 
clapping, and taken to front seats on the platform, which 
seemed rather inconsistent, after their repudiating " such 
exposure of ladies." Elizabeth Fry afterwards apologized 
for her conspicuous seat. I told her it was just the seat 
she ought to occupy in a Prison Meeting, and there was 
no objection to it in this one, only as showing the incon- 
sistency of our opponents. Very interesting meeting. 
Guizot, the French ambassador, translated by Dr. Bow- 
ring, very good. 

Tea at Crown and Anchor ; the closing scene of aboli- 
tionists ! We were informed on entrance, that it was a 
more liberal meeting than any we had had, under the man- 
agement of the abolitionists of England, Ireland, and 
Scotland united. The company was very large,* the prep- 
arations simple, as these soirees are generally understood 
to be for moral and intellectual purposes, or political, as 


the case may be. I was pleased that there was not much 
catering to the animal appetite. After tea, cups, etc., are 
removed, a chairman is appointed, the company all keej)ing 
their seats, and a subject being proposed, speakers are 
called on one by one, or if any one has any remarks to 
make, liberty is readily granted by the chair. Here were 
about four hundred present, at three tables running the 
length of the room, the fourth across the " top," in the 
centre of which, Wm. D. Crewdson sat as chairman. The 
speakers were J. G. Birney, H. B. Stanton, Wm. L. Gar- 
rison, C. L. Remond, Campbell, Gov. of Sierra Leone, and 
G. Thompson. A paper was sent up saying, " L. M. is 
confidently expected to make the next speech." She was 
therefore called on. The president announced her, when 
J. Scoble, who had a choice in her not thus " exposing " 
herself, stood and requested to make some explanation of 
Gov. Campbell's speech, as " that was of importance." 
His request was drowned by cries of, " No ! no ! Mrs. 
Mott ! " so she had to inform them that she would endeavor 
to occupy but little time. She was patiently heard; and 
no further explanation was then begged by friend S. 1 
Many introductions were made ; and the Crown and An- 
chor soiree ended satisfactorily. 

Received a letter from Harriet Martineau, in which she 
thus writes : — 

1 My wife embraced the opportunity to give her views on the subject of 
the use of the produce of slavery, which were listened to with attention, 
and apparently well received. In the course of her remarks, she men- 
tioned the example and faithfulness of some members of the Society of 
Friends in this respect, without mentioning any names. Josiah Forster 
could not allow this allusion to pass unnoticed ; and when she closed, he 
began to speak, by saying that he "felt conscientiously bound to inform 
the company, and he did so with no other than feelings of kindness, 
that Lucretia Mott," — when he had proceeded so far, it was perceived 
that he was about to disclaim religious fellowship with her, and a general 
burst of disapprobation was manifested by cries of "down! down! or- 
der! order! shame!" but he finished his avowal amidst the confusion, 
though very few heard what he said. As soon as he had made his speech, 
he left the room. — James Mott. 


My dear Friend, — I cannot be satisfied without send- 
ing you one line of sympathy and love. I think much of 
you amidst your present trials, and much indeed have I 
thought of you and your cause since we parted. 1 May 
God strengthen and comfort you ! It is a comfort to me 
in my absence, that two of my best friends, Mrs. Reid and 
Julia Smith, are there to look upon you with eyes of love. 
I hear of you from them ; for, busy as they are, they re- 
member me from day to day, and make me a partaker in 
your proceedings. If you and Mr. Mott should be coming 
near this way, how joyful it would make me to see you ! 
I am too unwell to offer more than a few hours a day of 
intercourse with any one, but love from my heart I do offer 
you. Dear friend, it is doubtless a disappointment to us 
both that we have not met; but if we cannot do so, we 
can, I hope, bear it cheerfully. Though ill, I suffer little. 
I should suffer greatly if I thought my friends were uneasy 
for me. Yet I cannot but grieve for you in the heart sick- 
ness which you must have experienced this last week. We 
must trust that the spirit of Christ will in time enlarge the 
hearts of those who claim his name ; that the whites as 
well as the blacks, will in time be free. With kindest 
regards to Mr. Mott, and remembrances to Miss Pugh, I 
am yours affectionately, Harriet Martineau. 

Fifth day, 25 th . — Visited the Borough Road School, by 
invitation of Robert Forster, who was there to receive and 
explain to us. The boys are well instructed, but the girls 
too much confined to sewing. . . . Went to Tottenham to 
tea at William Ball's with a large company : Elizabeth 
Fry, Countess of Brunswick, Amelia Opie, Isaac and 
Ann Braithwait and daughter, William Allen, George 
Stacey, Jonathan Backhouse, Elizabeth Pease, Anne 
Knight, and many more beside all our company. Every- 
thing was in style, with servants in livery. Tea was handed. 

1 In Philadelphia, several years before. 



After much conversation and a short reading of Scripture, 
way was opened by William Ball for any one to speak who 
had a wish to. Elizabeth Fry asked if that included wo- 
men, whereon G. Stacey essayed to limit the license given, 
but William replied, " No, I cannot do it." He had been 
remarkably kind during the Convention, and when he in- 
vited us to his house, said, " I wish you to understand that 
tho' we differ materially on what I consider very important 
points, yet my heart goes out towards you in much affec- 
tion." He gave a short address, then William L. Garrison 
spoke at length, very well ; and Elizabeth Fry followed in 
prayer, that our mission might be blessed in breaking the 
fetters of the poor captive, but above all blessed in bring- 
ing us to the unsearchable riches of Christ. . . . 

Sixth day, 26**. — British Museum. There is so much 
to see that the eye is wearied, nor could we keep together. 
I slept while the others looked. . . . 

Seventh, 27 th . Stayed at home and wrote. Rec d . books 
and a note from Lady Byron. Call from Samuel Gurney 
to make arrangements for a visit to them. . . . 

A sthT company of Anti-Slavery ladies at our lodgings, 
a poor affair. We find little confidence in woman's ac- 
tion either separately or conjointly with men, except as 
drudges. . . . 

Second day, 29 th . — Two hours at Haydon's. 1 . . . 

Called on Lady Byron, and talked with her of our views 
of woman, as we had been misrepresented. She told us 
we were to have the company of the Duchess of Suther- 

1 B. R. Haydon, the celebrated historical painter, was employed by 
some members of the Convention to " make a sketch " of the scene of the 
opening day, and for that purpose, had sittings from various persons. It 
is amusing to read in his autobiography the following mention of this par- 
ticular sitter. 

"29 tt . — Lucretia Mott, the leader of the delegate women from Amer- 
ica, sat. I found her out to have infidel notions, and resolved at once, 
narrow minded or not, not to give her the prominent place I first intended. 
I will reserve that for a beautiful believer in the Divinity of Christ." He 
afterward painted a portrait of her for the Duchess of Sutherland. 



land and daughter that day at Samuel Gurney's, and she 
hoped we would talk with the daughter, as she was an un- 
common girl, only sixteen. ... At two o'clock seven car- 
riages were sent to take all our American company to 
Samuel Gurney's, a pleasant ride of five or six miles. It 
is called Ham House, and has a beautiful park, with grass 
soft as velvet, where a tent was erected in case the house 
should overflow. T. F. Buxton, wife and children were 
there, E. Fry and husband and son, the Braithwaits, Fors- 
ters, and many more, including the Duchess of Sutherland 
and daughter, and Lord Morpeth; much fuss when they 
arrived in a coach and four grays, with outriders, and six 
servants in livery. Samuel Gurney introduced the daugh- 
ter, 1 and proposed her walking with L. Mott. After all 
were coupled and arranged, we paraded about the lawn 
awhile, then stood in a group, and heard S. Gurney read a 
letter from the Marquis of Westminster, on the Conven- 
tion, British India, the cotton trade, etc., which elicited 
some remarks that were listened to with attention, though 
startling in the beginning. . . . Fifty sat down to the ta- 
ble, a cold collation, except the fish and soup and vegeta- 
bles. E. Fry asked a blessing. Conversation was free 
and pleasant during the meal, after which S. Gurney made 
a short speech expressive of his satisfaction at having so 
many American guests, followed by Wm. L. G., J. G. B., 
H. B. S., T. F. Buxton, and others. Made me the offer ; 
declined. I was honored with a seat at his right hand, 
Ann Braithwait at the left. He invited the young people 
to help themselves to wine ; gently reproved for it ; bore 
it well. Many more joined at tea, which was served in 
the drawing-room, as is the invariable custom in England. 
Everything went off very well, and we shall long remem- 
ber the visit. Had some talk with Josiah Forster, relative 
to the difference of views between London Yearly Meeting 

1 Afterwards the Duchess of Argyle, and mother of twelve children, the 
oldest one of whom, the Marquis of Lorne, married the Princess Louise. 



Friends and those of us in America who had not suffered 
ourselves to be led about with diverse and strange doc- 
trines. Breakfasted that morning with James Haughton 
and two daughters, from Dublin. His father was disowned 
for countenancing Hannah Barnard. 1 I like to meet with 
those who have suffered for their liberal views of Chris- 

Third-day, 30 th . — Letter from William Howitt, 2 expres- 
sive of his dissatisfaction at the decision of the Convention 
on the woman question, and his admiration of the noble 
course pursued by Garrison. Calls from Robert Owen, 
R. R. Moore, Turnbull, and Dr. Madden; Meeting at 
Carter Lane ; reporter employed, to our sorrow. Went 
afterward to Dr. Beattie's, where we found a large com- 
pany of abolitionists and intellectual persons, among whom 
a French gentleman of distinction. 

On returning to our lodgings found a note from Thomas 
Clarkson's daughter-in-law, enclosing his autograph for 
each of our company, and alluding to the evening of their 
call on the " American Ladies " with much feeling. She 
says, " That evening I shall never forget ; and bowed 
down as I was in my inmost spirit by the recollection of 
the missing link between grandfather and grandson, and 
by a glimpse of the uncertain future as it regarded my 
precious boy, I could not but catch the warmth of the en- 
thusiasm around me, and felt that if wisdom and strength 
were given to me from above, my greatest earthly solace 
would be to train the dear child of him who was dearer to 
me than my own existence, in the upward path, which, 
though oftentime toilsome, leads through Infinite mercy to 
eternal glory." 

Fourth-day, 7 th mo. 1 st . — Dined at E. Reid's with Lady 
Byron. Wm. L. Garrison, N. P. Rogers, Remond, Dr. 
Hutton and wife, and many others to tea. Much conver- 
sation on housekeeping, neglect of families, and woman's 
1 See Appendix, p. 477. 2 See Appendix, p. 474. 



proper sphere ; a very pleasant visit. Invited by Lady By- 
ron to visit her school. . . . 

Fifth-day, 2 nd . — Went to Lady Byron's according to ap- 
pointment, and saw Lady Lovelace and her three sweet 
children ; then went with her to her school, five miles out of 
London. On the way we had much talk about Unitarians. 
She expressed herself as not quite satisfied with any sect, 
but had often thought Quaker and Unitarian would suit 
her, and that an advantage would arise from visits to other 
places of worship. Her remarks were sensible, and showed 
dignity of character and Christian simplicity. Her school 
is to try the experiment of manual labor, and is answering 
well. Addressed the children; teacher expressed unity. 
On our way home, we called to see Mrs. Jamieson, and 
talked of slavery and other subjects. Lady Byron left me 
at Amelia Opie's, where I found a large company, Countess 
of Brunswick, William Ball, R. Robbins and L. Rand, E. 
Pease, Anne Knight, and a host of Americans. . . . 

Sixth-day, 3 rd . — Breakfasted at Dr. Bowring's in the 
house of Mills the historian, overlooking Milton's garden, 
and the house of Jeremy Bentham ; several rooms lined with 
books and curiosities. Much talk on war in general. He has 
a sensible wife and nine children, the eldest daughter very 
clever. Thence to Haydon's to finish the picture. Thence 
to Chelsea to visit Thomas Carlyle, with whom the conver- 
sation was not very satisfactory. He was anti-abolition, or 
rather, his sympathies were absorbed in the poor at home, 
their own poverty and slavery. Disappointed in him. 1 . . . 

Seventh-day, 4*\ — Note from Lady Byron, asking us to 
take an engraving to Dr. Channing, which she wished to 
send as a mark of her " grateful regard," adding, " I say 
grateful, because his writings have done good to more than 
one of those whom I love best." 

1 Mrs. Carlyle subsequently told George Bradburn that her husband 
"was much pleased with the Quaker lady — Mrs. Mott — whose quiet 
manner had a soothing effect on him." — Memorial of George Bradburn, 
p. 104. 


First-day, 5 t? '. — Meeting ; good sermon ; dined at Mus- 
well Hill, William Ashurst's home, with R. Owen, Wm. L. 
G., N. P. Rogers, Dr. Epps, and others. Talk, of paying 
priests' demands, and military fines ; not quite satisfied with 
Wm. L. G.'s views. William Ashurst gave an interesting 
account of his efforts to establish the penny postage law. 
He has enlarged views. . . . 

Second-day, 6 th . — British India meeting, not so large as 
we hoped. Sir Charles Forbes in the chair. Wendell Phil- 
lips made his best speech. Met Lady Byron for the last 
time ; parting expressions not soon forgotten. Left at four 
o'c. to go three or four miles out of London to dine at 
Cousin Starbuck's. . . . 

TIrird-day, 7 th . — ... Parted with several of our com- 
pany, who went to Paris. . . . Meeting in the evening at 
Carter Lane. . . . 

Fourth-day, 8 th . — Walked three miles to Dr. Hutton's to 
breakfast, and thence went to an infant school, taught by 
Pestalozzi with an owl ; children very attentive. . . . 

Fifth-day, 9 th . — E. Pease, George Thompson, Col. Mil- 
ler, Dr. Hutton, and others called. . . . Tea at Dr. Bow- 
ring's, where we met Villiers, liberal member of House of 
Commons ; also Dyer, author of popular hymns, old and 
blind, but very cheerful, and his wife whom he married at 
seventy. The evening passed pleasantly, with talk of East- 
ern customs. Dr. Bowring is familiar with twenty lan- 
guages. His speech in the Convention was very interest- 
ing, going to show a nice sense of justice and religious 
principle existing in the East ; " When Christianity comes 
recommended by its benevolence as well as its creeds, it 
will recommend itself to all." He is well acquainted with 
George Combe, and respects him much. G. Bradburn and 
Villiers walked home with us, two miles, and tried to per- 
suade us to go to France. . . . 

Sixth-day, 10 th . — George Thompson to breakfast. Inter- 
view with C. E. Lester, Prof. Adam, Robert Forster, Eliz- 



abeth Pease, and others. J. Scoble called about the pro- 
test, and spake unadvisedly with his lips to Garrison. Tea 
at William Ashurst's, Muswell Hill. Met Mrs. Saxton 
and Fanny Wade. A delightful evening; went into their 
nice kitchen and buttery. 

Seventh- day, 11 th . — Dr. Hutton called to take leave, 
bringing us letters of introduction to his parents and friends 
in Dublin. Calls also from Elizabeth Pease, Robert Fors- 
ter, George Bradburn, and others. . . . 

Railroad to Birmingham, where we were met by Wil- 
liam Boultbee, and McDonald, the Catholic priest, who was 
introduced to us in London. He now went with us to our 
kind friend Boultbee's, and renewed his offer of the use of 
a room for a meetino-. William Morgan called. . . . 

First-day, 12 th of 7 th mo. — -William Boultbee called on 
Hugh Hutton, and introduced us and our mission ; cordially 
received. Went to Catholic meeting and heard McDonald 
deliver a good practical discourse, with nonsensical forms, 
— low mass or high mass, — and sacrament. When we 
called on him afterwards, found him eating breakfast, he 
having fasted all the morning. In the evening heard 
George Harris, of Glasgow, by Hugh Hutton's invitation. 
He was good, but in manner not so easy as McDonald, 
who preaches extempore. 

Second-day, 13 th - — Rose at four o'c, to write home. 
Joseph Sturge and sister called to invite us to breakfast. 
Dined at home with McDonald and H. Hutton ; wine on 
table, which led to much talk. Went to a soiree under a 
new chapel, built by working men. Some four hundred 
present; simple tea of sandwiches, etc. George Harris 
gave an excellent discourse, followed by McDonald, Wm. 
Boultbee, and others. Resolutions were then offered by 
Hugh Hutton, welcoming us, and inviting us to take part. 
Separated at eleven, all delighted. Walked with Hugh 
Hutton, a congenial mind. 

Third-day, 14 <7t of 7 th mo. — Breakfasted at Morgan's. 


William Boultbee waited on us to a Unitarian Charity 
School for girls, designed to make good servants ; a nice, 
well-ventilated house, in neat order, but the girls too much 
confined to sewing, and not taught enough beyond reading, 
writing, and a little figuring. Thence to the new Cathe- 
dral, where we met the priest, Abbott, an intelligent man, 
but no reformer like McDonald. He likes old forms, would 
be quiet as to abuses, and submit to the " powers that be." 
Opposed him ; disliked their rearing such costly edifices, 
which he, in turn, defended. A stranger present, listening, 
united " with all the lady said," and would like to know 
her name, and where from. Went to Town Hall, and heard 
an excellent lecture from George Harris on capital punish- 
ment, High Bailiff presiding. Our friend Morgan united 
with him, and L. M. asked to offer resolutions thanking 
him, which being declined, she made a few remarks ; 
cheered ; so much for English usage. . . . 

During the rapid journey that followed, through 
Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, and Glasgow, 
the diary is merely a skeleton record, too disjointed 
for reproduction. But there is frequent and grateful 
mention of the " generous hospitality extended " by 
Irish friends. Only a few extracts can be made. 

Dublin, Fifth-day, 23 rd . — James Haughton's daughters 
called in their car, and took us to Joseph Hutton's, father 
of Dr. Hutton, of London. He was not at home, but his 
wife, a fine old lady, received us kindly. We walked around 
their beautiful garden, and feasted on gooseberries. After- 
wards had lunch of bread and butter, baked apples (last 
year's), milk and cream, and buttermilk, all in antique style, 
and with real Irish hospitality. . . . 

First-day, 26 th of 1 th mo. — Went to Friends' Meeting. 
A large house, with high galleries ; only two men and one 
woman in the upper gallery. Broke their silence, after 



sitting more than an hour, and was listened to quietly ; 1 fol- 
lowed by a prayer from a woman, the only minister of that 
meeting, that they might be preserved from a state of luke- 
warmness. . . . Rode three miles out of town in an outside 
car to Greenmount, James Webb's residence, a large house, 
in good taste, with a fine garden, where we dined in com- 
pany with Win. Dawes, Rich d Webb and wife, Thomas and 
Mary Webb, Rich d and Ann Allen, James Haughton, and 
Charles Corkran. , 

Second-day, 27 th . — Visited Thomas Irwin's school, for- 
merly National, but as the Catholics would not have the 
Bible introduced, another was established. Commented 
on girls' education, as contrasted with boys', — the latter 
forward in arithmetic, while girls are kept at sampler 
work, stitching, and other nonsense ; no blackboard draw- 
ings or problems for them. The rod is dispensed with, 
and they are trying to give up all punishments since our 
talk at Richard Webb's. From there to the large Na- 
tional school ; same objections as in others, as respects 
girls. R. Allen took us in his car to the Mendicity. . . . 

Third-day, 28 th . — Rode with J. Haughton's daughters 
around the beautiful Park. Dined at Joseph Hutton's with 
Dr. Drummond and others. . . . 

Fourth-day, 29 th . — Wm. L. Garrison and N. P. Rogers 
arrived ; walked a mile along the quay to meet them, and 
passed the morning delightfully with them at Richard 
Webb's. . . . Took leave of all our dear friends. 

Fifth-day, 30 th . — Left Dublin, on top of coach, for Bel- 
fast ; very rapid driving. Passed miserable huts, and poor 
villages, with wretched looking people, mostly barefoot. 

Sixth-day, 31 st . — Breakfast at Wm. Bell's, editor of the 
" Irish Friend." Dined at Wm. Webb's. Took steamboat 
to Glasgow. . . . 

Seventh-day, 8 th mo. I st . — Arrived in Glasgow at twelve 

1 A Friend afterward told James Mott that " he expected every minute 
Lucretia would be requested to sit down," 


o'c.j and stopped cat McFarlane's Temperance House, Argyle 
St. Lodged across the street, " 3 stairs up," as is the com- 
mon direction at the entrance of the court ; lower floor used 
for shops. Fewer omnibuses and more people walking than 
in any city we have yet been in. Barefoot women draw- 
ing hand-barrows heavily laden, or carrying heavy burdens 
on their backs. 

First-day, 8 th mo. 2 nd . — Attended Friends' Meeting; 
quite small. Some strangers there, from England ; one, in 
supplication ; the other, tedious and dry, dwelling on the 
system of the schools of Divinity, which is now so completely 
interwoven with Quaker faith, as to divest it of its original 
simplicity and beauty. Mourned their degeneracy, while 
they lamented our heresy. William Smeal and sister spoke 
kindly to us. We took tea with them and were introduced 
to a Friend named White, who was active in the Anti- 
Slavery cause, and would like to pay us attention, but was 
afraid of our principles. Wm. deprecated the treatment of 
G. Harris and other Unitarians by the Orthodox. 

Second-day, 3 rd . — Went to Edinboro', on top of coach, 
to meet Sarah Pugh and Abby Kimber, who had joined H. 
B. Stanton and wife, in a visit to Paris. The country dif- 
ferent from Ireland ; fine roads, and neat cottages ; farms 
looking like ours in Chester County ; but licensed dram- 
houses thick on the road. . . . 

Accompanied by their attentive friend George 
Thompson, they left Edinburgh and returned to 
GlasgoAv by some of the lakes, and over the High- 
lands of Scotland, by post-coach most of the way. 

Glasgow, Sixth-day, 7 th . — Went to A. S. meeting in the 
evening ; women voted down. George Thompson gave 
notice of a meeting for me, and was censured for it. Rec d 
a letter from George Harris, kindly offering the use of his 
house and pulpit, he being absent. In it he says, " I am 
happy in offering you the use of my chapel pulpit, either 



on Sunday evening, or any evening of the following week 
you may choose, to address the people on slavery, educa- 
tion, or our common faith in God and man and our Saviour. 
The committee of our chapel likewise unanimously offer 
you the place of worship for these purposes." This we ac- 
cepted for First-day eve g . 

Seventh-day, 8* A . — Visited Paisley. . . . By steamboat 
on the Clyde to our friend, J. Murray's, to dine. His son, 
a fine lad, read Burns in broad Scotch for our amuse- 
ment. . . . 

First-day, 9^ of 8 th mo. — James went to Friends' Meet- 
ing ; small. Their afternoon meeting put off till six o'c, 
near the hour for which ours w r as appointed. . . . Met at 
quarter past six ; the house very full ; all very attentive ; 
w r e had abundant reason to believe that the opportunity 
was satisfactory to those present. 1 

1 From the London Christian Pioneer, Sept. 1840 : — 
In our last number, we noticed the character and labors of Mrs. Mott, 
of Philadelphia. Her respected husband, with herself, were invited to 
attend the Annual Meeting of the Glasgow Emancipation Society on the 
1st of August. . . . They came, and meetings of the so-called Emancipa- 
tion Society were held ; but no places were appointed on the platform for 
Mr. and Mrs. Mott, — no invitation was given them to address the assem- 
bly! And no wonder. That assembly was held in the chapel of Dr. 
Wardlaw, — the Directors of the Society were Quakers and Calvinists, 
and the American Friends bore about them the taint of heresy. This was 
sufficient to warrant neglect and insult to individuals who had periled life 
and property in vindication of the rights of humanity. Dr. Wardlaw, in 
the face of the assembly, could shake hands with a colored American as a 
friend and brother, but averted looks were deemed the proper reception 
for those who had dared to think for themselves in theology. 

Mr. Harris having been fully prepared for this exhibition of intoler- 
ance, had invited Mrs. Mott to occupy his pulpit on Sunday, or any other 
evening she chose to honor him, and the Unitarian congregation, by its 
acceptance. On Sunday evening, Aug. 9th, the chapel was crowded to 
hear her. Mr. Mott first addressed the meeting, stating who they were, 
their object in visiting this country, their difference in religious vieAvs 
from Great Britain, and reading, in corroboration of his statements, certif- 
icates from the Monthly Meeting of Friends in Philadelphia, and of Aboli- 
tion Societies. Mrs. Mott then spoke, and for nearly two hours held a de- 
lighted audience in breathless attention She began by saying that she was 
glad of the opportunity which the generous offer of that pulpit had given 



Second-day, \O th . — Went to the Cemetery; the Jewish 
enclosure particularly interesting ; touching inscriptions on 
gateposts and gate : — 

" Oh where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet, 
And when shall Zion's songs again seem sweet! 
And Judah's melody once more rejoice 
The hearts that leap before its Heavenly voice. 

her to address them; that she had been denied a hearing elsewhere be- 
cause she was a woman, and by her own body in this country because she 
differed from them in her views of religion ; that the body of Friends 
with whom they were connected were looked upon with the same dislike 
by the other party, as the Unitarians were by those calling themselves 
Orthodox; she regretted this bigotry, as she wished the enlarged and 
beautiful and exalted views which she and the Unitarian brethren enter- 
tained could be embraced and felt by all; and she was happy in believ- 
ing that such views were spreading, and would continue to spread, till all 
mankind, from their holy influence, would become like one large family, 
living in love and harmony together as the children of one common 
Father. Mrs. Mott called on the Unitarians to exert themselves to the 
utmost to bring about this happy state of things; to let no fear of man, or 
any worldly motive, deter them from openly avowing their convictions, 
and acting up to them; that there were too many mammon-worshipers 
in the world, and she feared a great lack of moral courage also. She said 
her address might be thought desultory, but as it was the only opportunity 
she should have of speaking to them, she felt it necessary to direct their 
attention to many topics worthy of thoughtful contemplation. She de- 
fended, on Scriptural grounds, the right of woman to speak in public; 
spoke of the imperfect education which women too commonly received, 
which consequently debarred them from occupying their proper places in 
society; called upon her sisters to look to this, and embrace every oppor- 
tunity of gaining knowledge on every subject; not to be content with a 
little reading, a little writing, and a little sewing; to brush away the 
silken fetters that had so long bound them ; no longer to be content 
with being the mere toy or plaything of man's leisure hours, but to fit 
themselves for assuming their proper position, in being the rational com- 
panions, the friends, the instructors of their race. Better views, she re- 
joiced to know, were beginning to be entertained on this and kindred 
subjects. War, too, was looked on in a different light from formerly. 
Slavery also was calling forth those efforts for its extermination, which 
it behooved humanity and Christian principle to make ; and deliverance 
to the captives of every clime would be the result. Having depicted in 
glowing colors the evils and abominations of slavery as it existed in 
America, and roused the best and holiest feeling of her audience to cym- 
pathy with the wrongs of the oppressed, and in resolutions for their 
extinction, Mrs. Mott burst forth into a beautiful and fervent prayer, and 



" Oh weep for those who wept by Babel's stream! 
Whose shrines are desolate, whose land, a dream. 
Weep for the harp of Judah's broken shell! 
Mourn, where their God hath dwelt, the godless dwell. 

"Tribes of the wandering feet, and weary breast, 
We roam the earth around, yet find no rest. 
The wild dove hath her nest, the fox his cave, 
Mankind their country — Israel, but a grave! " 

On the way home we called at the High School taught 
by D'Orsey, to whom George Combe had given us a letter 
of introduction ; were pleased with his mode of instruction. 
Went in the rain to the adjourned meeting of the Emanci- 
pation Society. The chartists took the meeting into their 
own hands, and would not let George Thompson speak. A 
socialist, and a chartist, had the floor, and made good 
speeches ; I was not sorry that they could be heard to 
plead the cause of their own poor. 

Third-day, II th of 8 th mo. — Left Glasgow for Edinboro' 
by way of Lanark, passing falls of Stone Byre, and falls of 
Corra Linn. Three chained prisoners in the coach, to be 
transported for stealing sheep, their wives and children 
crying piteously. My heart ached for them ! Arrived at 
Edinboro' at dusk. As we passed Gorgie Cottage, George 
Combe was standing at the end of the lane to welcome us. 
He and Cecilia had written to us at Glasgow inviting us to 
be their guests while in Edinboro'. 

Fourth-day, 12 th . — George Combe sent carriages for us 
to go to Gorgie Cottage ; a delightful visit ! Andrew Combe 
and his niece, Miss Cox, dined there with us ; some friends 
called, and we all walked in the garden and ate gooseber- 
ries. Passed a delightful evening, sitting in the bright 
moonlight without other light, talking, till ten o'c, when 
George Combe, with his characteristic punctuality, pro- 
posed retiring to rest. 

Fifth -day, 13 th . — Rose at seven ; wrote till eight. 
George Combe was at his writing before breakfast. When 
we were called down, a good fire was a pleasant sight. . . . 


Rode in to Dr. Andrew Combe's to dine, found there a 
German physician, Dr. Hirschfeld, and wife. Tea was 
handed in the drawing-room. We parted from them all 
with mingled emotions, for we were increasingly attached 
to them, and they expressed much for us. It is sad that 
we shall probably meet them no more ! 

Sixth-day, 9 th mo. I4! h . — Top of coach to Melrose. A 
Georgia planter in company tried to convince us, that the 
slave was better off than the workingman of England and 
Ireland, but not succeeding, begged off, as he did not 
want the pleasure of his day's ride destroyed, as it was in 
Ireland, by talking on that subject. He seemed to like 
our company, and asked us to join their party to Abbotsford. 
. . . Rode to Abbotsford ; the guide hurried us through, 
as another party was waiting ; but fortunately, we acci- 
dentally met with the widow of Scott's trusty servant, Tom 
Purdie, who was very communicative, and invited us into 
her cottage on the premises, where she gave us some of 
her newly-baked bread, and water from a silver cup pre-, 
sented by Scott's son, the present Sir Walter. Some six- 
pences dropped into it, where upon shewas loud in praise 
of Americans, and told us all that the time would admit of. 
Our Georgia companion was very grateful to me for going 
back to find him, to introduce him to her. Thence to Dry- 
burg Abbey, in two carriages. Crossed the Tweed in a 
small boat, rowed by our Georgia friend, who was glad to 
do what he could to bring us over to the other side. We 
laughed at him for having such a company of abolitionists 
under his charge. It was a long walk after getting over. 
I lagged behind to eat of the abundant cherries in the en- 
closure, while the girls were hastening to sentimentalize, 
and gather flowers from Scott's grave. The ivy climbing 
over the ruined windows was beautiful. We went down to 
the Crypt, or Chapter House, full of busts and broken 
things, wisely kept for such a place. . . . Melrose by 
moonlight was exquisite; so pale and bright. All were 



called into the churchyard to see the shadow of a sprite ; 
returned late to a supper of oatmeal porridge and milk. 

Seventh - day, 15 th . — Coach to Newcastle - upon - Tyne. 
Sorry to leave our Georgian behind. . . . 

First-day, W h . — Rode to Tyne -Mouth by rail, then 
walked a mile to the sea-side. Found Harriet Martineau in 
comfortable lodgings, seated at a window overlooking the 
sea. She received us cordially, entered into pleasant con- 
versation, and two or three hours passed almost before we 
were aware of it. Many subjects were touched upon ; the 
Furnesses of Phil a ., a favorite theme ; the loss of so many 
friends, a painful one. Returned at two o'c, parting with 
her, never expecting to meet again, as she is afflicted with 
a disease which she thinks will prove fatal. ... 

Fourth-day, 19 </l . — Arrived in London early in the morn- 
ing, and enjoyed the ride through the streets, all clean and 
quiet, before the stores and houses were open. . . . 

First-day, 23 rd . — Parted with all our friends with affec- 
tion, and said farewell to London, with a feeling of sadness. 
. . . Arrived in Liverpool at seven o'clock, and stopped at 
15 Bold St., Miss Knibbs' . . . Not until our arrival here, 
did we see this communication, which the small handful of 
Friends in Glasgow had caused to be published in one or 
more of their public papers. 


Respected Friend, — Intimation having been given 
on the 8 th current, by means of placards extensively posted 
throughout the city, that " on Sabbath first, the 9 th inst., 
Mrs. Lucretia Mott, a minister of the Society of Friends, 
Philadelphia, would hold a meeting in the Christian Uni- 
tarian Chapel," — and that meeting having, we understand, 
been numerously attended by our fellow-citizens, we deem 
it right, on behalf of the Society of Friends residing in 
Glasgow, to inform the public, that we hold no religious fel- 
lowship with Lucretia Mott, nor with the body in the 


United States (called Hicksites), to which she belongs: 
they not being recognized by the Society of Friends in the 
United Kingdom, nor by those Friends with whom we are 
in connection in America ; and that we do not wish to be 
in any way identified with, or considered responsible for, 
any sentiments that Lucretia Mott may have uttered at the 
meeting above referred to. 

We are respectfully thy friends, 

William Smeal. John Maxwell. 

William White. James Smeal. 

Edward White. 

Glasgow, 12th of Eighth mo., 1840. 

In answer to this, James addressed the following letter 
to William Smeal, the only one of the signers whom we 
knew. He had shown us much kindness both in London 
and Glasgow, assuring us that in Scotland they would not 
approve of excluding women from the Convention ; but he 
was mistaken, for nowhere did we meet with more bigotry 
and prejudice, than in Glasgow. 

Liverpool, 8th mo. 24th, 1840. 

William Smeal : 

Respected Friend, — After reaching London, a few 
days since, I first heard of a publication in the " Glasgow 
Argus," signed by thyself and four others, respecting my 
wife, and the notice of a meeting she had in the Unitarian 
Chapel, but which publication I did not see until this day. 
Had either of you been at the meeting, it is probable you 
would not have thought such a disavowal necessary ; as I 
distinctly stated to the audience that a division in the So- 
ciety of Friends had taken place in the United States, 
about twelve years since ; that we belonged to that portion 
of the division which was not recognized as Friends by 
those of this country ; that we claimed, however, to be 
Friends, and were members of the largest portion of the 
division in Pennsylvania (reading a certificate our Monthly 



Meeting had furnished us), our number being about twenty 
thousand, and the other side about eight thousand ; and 
the whole number in the United States on our side, about 
eighty thousand; that I mentioned these things in order 
that it might be understood who we were, that no one 
might be deceived, for we did not wish to pass for anything 
different from what we were. I doubt not but all of the 
large audience fully and clearly understood our position, 
and could say, on seeing your disclaimer, " You might have 
saved yourself the trouble and exposure, for Mr. Mott in- 
formed us they were not in connection with you." 

Now, those who are ignorant of the facts may suppose, 
from your disclaimer, that we wanted to be considered as 
Friends connected with you, and attempted to pass our- 
selves off as such ; which we should be quite as unwilling 
to do, as you would be to be identified with us. I also 
should be as unwilling to be responsible for sentiments I ! 
heard in your meeting, as you seem to be for sentiments 
you did not hear in the Chapel. 

One difference between us is this : You call yourselves 
Friends, and claim to be such ; whatever our opinion may 
be as to the fact, we do not deny or question your right to 
call yourselves by this name. We also call ourselves | 
Friends, and claim to be such ; but you deny us the right 
to the name, and reproachfully apply the epithet of Hicks- 
ites, which we disclaim, it having been used by our op- 
posers in derision. 

You may say that you lament our declension, or depart- 
ure from what you consider and believe to be the doctrines 
of the Society of Friends. We, also, as sincerely lament 
your departure from what we consider and believe to be 
the doctrines and practices of the Society ; so that in this 
respect we stand on equal grounds. Of one thing I have 
had such evidence, as fully satisfies me of the fact, that 
Friends in this country are deplorably ignorant of the 
causes of the division in America, and of the relative cir- 



cumstances of the two parties then, or at the present time \ 
and that they cherish a spirit of prejudice and bigotry to- 
ward us, incompatible with the benign religion of Jesus. Of 
this, however, we do not complain, as you are the suffer- 
ers ; but we deplore the unchristian conduct this leads 
many into. I am satisfied a difference in opinion on doc- 
trine does exist between you and us, but this does not 
settle the question as to which is right, and which, wrong. 
I suppose you believe yourselves right, and holding doc- 
trines in accordance with Fox, Penn, and Barclay. I fully 
believe that we do, and can bring as much evidence to sup- 
port our views as you can. 

What is the ground of warnings given in your Yearly 
Meeting, your verbal and newspaper disclaimers ? Are you 
afraid of being robbed of your good name ? or are your 
doctrines of such an evanescent character, that they are in 
danger of vanishing before the sunshine of truth ? Does 
it not show a want of confidence in your principles, and in 
the solidity and durability of your position ? It is a small 
matter to us to be judged of man, or to have our religious 
faith called in question, or to be charged with worshiping 
the God of our Fathers after the manner called heresy ; all 
this moves us not. But I grieve at the manifestation of a 
spirit that will deliver a brother up to death, as far as the 
law and customs of the country will allow ; it is the same, 
which, a few years ago, imprisoned, burned, and hanged 
those who held opinions on religious subjects, different from 
those who then possessed the legal power. We do not find 
any charge of immoral conduct brought against those mar- 
tyrs, but holding opinions dangerous to the peace and unity 
of the Church; or, more correctly, not holding opinions 
that were deemed essential to salvation. It is easy to be 
very liberal and charitable towards those who believe more 
than we do ; but those who believe less, we are ready 
enough to denounce as heretical, dangerous innovators, not 
to be countenanced. When will men respect properly the 



right of public opinion ! Not until they learn that religion 
consists, not in the assent of the mind to any dogma, nor 
yet in the belief of any mysterious proposition of faith ; 
but in visiting the widow and the fatherless, and keeping 
ourselves unspotted from the world. " I am sick of opin- 
ions, I am weary to hear them, my soul loathes their frothy 
food : give me solid, substantial religion, — give me an hon- 
est, devoted lover of God and man." " It is time Chris- 
tians were judged by their likeness to Christ, rather than 
by their notions of Christ." It appears to me you take the 
latter ground of judgment ; I greatly prefer the former. 

I had intended to say something about the objects of 
our crossing the Atlantic, but my paper is full, and I must 
subscribe, thy friend, James Mott. 

Notwithstanding this, and other manifestations of a dis- 
position to disavow religious fellowship with us, the kind- 
ness and courtesy that was abundantly extended to us by 
some Friends, as well as by many others not of that name, 
will long be remembered with pleasure. George Harris, 
and other Unitarians at Glasgow, received us very kindly. 
My love of approbation was gratified, and the cause of 
Truth maintained, I trust. If it be bigotry to believe the 
sublime Truths of the Gospel " as we have learned them 
in the school of Christ," I rejoice in such bigotry, or her- 
esy. . . . Received a letter from Harriet Martineau, ex- 
pressive of satisfaction in our late visit : — 

" I felt hardly as if I knew what I was about that morn- 
ing, but I was very happy, and I find I remember every 
look and word. I did not make all the use I might of the 
opportunity, but when are we ever wise enough to do so ? 
I do not think we shall meet again in this world, and I be- 
lieve that was in your mind when you said farewell. I 
find that I have derived somewhat, from my intercourse 
with you, that will never die, and I am thankful that we 


have been permitted to meet. You will tell the Furnesses 
where and how you found me. Tell them of my cheerful 
room, and fine view of down and sea. I wish my friends 
would suffer for me no more than I do for myself. I hope 
you have yet many years of activity and enjoyment before 
you. My heart will ever be in your cause, and my love 
with yourself. God bless you ! " 

Received a letter from Richard D. Webb, of Dublin : — 

" We have enjoyed with unabated relish the company of 
Sarah Pugh and Abby Kimber, and are glad that we have 
had such opportunity of becoming acquainted with so many 
delightful people of the right stamp, from the abolition 
ranks. Before the Convention, and for years past, there 
was no class of individuals anywhere, with whom I so much 
desired to be acquainted. My expectations were conse- 
quently high, and I am glad to say that they have not been 
disappointed. I am not aware, that my intercourse with 
you has unsettled any previous opinions which I held upon 
religious matters, but it has surely confirmed my views re- 
specting the unimportance of dogmas, in comparison with 
the ' weightier matters of the law.' I look on creeds 
and professions, with increasing indifference ; and on real, 
substantial, fruitful action to a good purpose, with addi- 
tional respect. But I did not mean to trouble you with my 
confession of faith. 

" I am glad you have met with some in this country who 
4 agree to differ ' with you, whilst they rejoice to have met 
with you for your own sakes, and the pleasure they have 
enjoyed in your enlightened society, as well as for what 
you have done, and sacrificed, for the poor colored man and 
the slave. Any abolition friends of yours will always be 
welcome to us. I say abolition friends, for tho' I consider 
toleration an important attainment, which I preach up on 
all occasions, I have not yet acquired such a measure of it 
as to look with complacency on any American, who has ar- 



rived at years of discretion without having acquired cor- 
rect opinions on this most important subject of slavery. 

" I would be most anxious to know more about C. C. 
Burleigh, of whom I heard so much and so favorably from 
you. He appears to me to be one of a thousand, — a man 
among men. And I will take it as a favor conferred, if you 
will recommend any such person as he, (in case he should 
come to Ireland,) to come first to us in confidence of a 
hearty welcome, so long as we have a house over our 
heads, and the means to support it. 

" Let us forget the points on which our respective sects 
differ, and be thankful that there are so many more in 
which we can most cordially agree. Hoping you will write 
to me on your return, and afterwards, 

" I remain, etc." 

Also received the following from Elizabeth Pease : — 

" I shall, I believe, look back through life with pleasure 
to the hours we have recently passed together. It has 
never appeared to me, that a difference in religious faith 
ought to prevent a cordial cooperation in works of benevo- 
lence, quite the reverse ; and I cannot help regretting that 
some have thought and acted otherwise. But, my dear 
friend, we must strive to make allowance for natural dispo- 
sition, the influences of early education, etc., and forgive (as 
I well know it is thy desire to do) the errors, or unkind- 
ness, into which they may betray, remembering for our con- 
solation, that to our own Master we must all stand or fall. 
Remember me kindly to thy husband, and to thy son and 
daughter Davis. Please accept thyself, and hand to Sarah 
and Abby the assurance of my affectionate remembrance, 
and most sincere wishes for the best welfare and happiness 
of you all, and for your continued usefulness in the cause 
of the slave." 

Fourth-day, 2G"'. — The last day we passed in England. 



Our friends, Joseph and Elizabeth Pease, breakfasted with 
us, and James Webb called. After writing divers notes, and 
making sundry last arrangements, and some few purchases, 
we once more took leave of our loved friends with full 
hearts, and rode down to the packet ship, Patrick Henry, 
Captain Delano. We had twelve cabin, and one hundred 
and forty steerage passengers, (one born on the passage.) 
Many of these were respectable, intelligent persons, coming 
to the United States to settle. A fair passage ; not as sick A 
as on the way out. Some slave-holders were on board, who 
did n't relish the discussion of the subject. Meetings were 
held on deck, on First-days. Sail in sight every day, and 
one night much alarm, a ship coming in close contact, and 
carrying away our jib-boom. Captain Delano always 
cheerful and kind, and remarkably active. He had a large, 
and excellent library on board. . . . 

To which James Mott adds : — 

After a passage of twenty-nine days, we arrived at New 
York, glad once more to reach our native land, and far bet- 
ter satisfied with its customs, conditions, institutions, and 
laws, slavery excepted, than with those of the mother coun- 
try. Our blue sky, bright shining sun, and clear atmosphere, 
are in striking contrast with the clouds, mists, and frequent 
rains of the British Isles, and we felt no desire to change * 
our residence ; yet we were well compensated for the jour- 
ney, in the opportunity it afforded to observe the manners 
and usages of other nations, and above all, in the restora- 
tion to health of my wife, the hope of which was one ob- 
ject of the journey. 

Neither James nor Lucretia Mott made any rec- 
ord of an interesting incident of their voyage home 
to America, which was amusingly illustrative of the 
latter 's tact and skill in carrying out her own inten- 
tions, while at the same time disarming the criticism 
of those inclined to oppose her. It was told to a 



friend by the commanding officer of the vessel in 
which they sailed, Captain Delano, upon whom it 
made an indelible impression. This friend 1 relates 
it, as follows : " A large number of Irish emigrants 
were on board in the steerage. On the voyage, Mrs. 
Mott was moved to hold a religious meeting among 
them. But, the matter being broached to them, 
their Catholic prejudices objected. They would not 
hear a woman preach, for women-priests were not 
allowed in their Church. But the spirit that was 
pressing on this 4 woman-preacher ' for utterance, 
was not to be prevented from delivering its message, 
without a more strenuous effort to remove the ob- 
stacle. She asked that the emigrants might be in- 
vited to come together, to consider with her whether 
they would have a meeting. This was but fair and 
right, and they came. She then explained how dif- 
ferent her idea of a " meeting " was, from the church 
service to which they were accustomed ; that she 
had no thought of saying anything derogatory of that 
service, nor of the priests who ministered to them ; 
that her heart had been drawn to them in sympathy, 
as they were leaving their old homes for new ones in 
America j and that she had wanted to address them 
as to their habits and aims in their every-day life, in 
such a way as to help them in the land of strangers 
to which they were going. And then, asking if they 
would listen, (and they were already listening, be- 
cause her gracious voice and words so entranced them 
they could not help it,) she said she would give an 
outline of what she had wanted to say at the meet- 
ing. And so she was drawn on by the silent sympa- 
thy she had secured, until the spirit's message was 

i William J. Potter, of New Bedford. 



delivered ; and only the keenest-witted of her Catho- 
lic hearers waked up to the fact, as they were going 
out, that they had c got the preachment from the 
woman-priest, after all.' " 

[From a Painting by J. Kyle, in 1841.] 


Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who went to 
London with her husband, — one of the New York 
delegates to the World's Convention, — met James 
and Lucretia Mott there for the first time. A life- 
long friendship was the result. The following extracts 
from her reminiscences add some graphic touches to 
the picture already given by the foregoing, diary : — 

..." In June, 1840, I met Mrs. Mott for the first time, 
in London. Crossing the Atlantic in company with James 
G. Birney, then the Liberty Party candidate for President, 
soon after the bitter schism in the Anti-Slavery ranks, he 
described to me as we walked the deck, day after day, the 
women who had fanned the flames of dissension, and had 
completely demoralized the Anti-Slavery ranks. As my 
first view of Mrs. Mott was through his prejudices, no pre- 
possessions in her favor biased my judgment. When first 
introduced to her at our hotel in Great Queen Street, with 
the other ladies from Boston and Philadelphia, who were 
delegates to the World's Convention, I felt somewhat embar- 
rassed, as I was the only lady present who represented the 
' Birney faction,' though I really knew nothing of the merits 
of the division, having been outside the world of reforms. 
Still, as my husband, and my cousin Gerrit Smith, were on 
that side, I supposed they would all have a feeling of hos- 
tility toward me. However, Mrs. Mott, in her sweet, gen- 
tle way, received me with great cordiality and courtesy, and 
I was seated by her side at dinner. 

" No sooner were the viands fairly dispensed, than sev- 


eral Baptist ministers began to rally the ladies on having 
set the abolitionists by the ears in America, and now pro- 
posing to do the same thing in England. I soon found that 
the pending battle was on woman's rights, and that, unwit- 
tingly, I was by marriage on the wrong side. As I had 
thought much on this question in regard to the laws, church 
action, and social usages, I found myself in full accord with 
the other ladies, combating most of the gentlemen at the 
table. . . . Calmly and skillfully Mrs. Mott parried all 
their attacks, now by her quiet humor turning the laugh on 
them, and then by her earnestness and dignity silencing 
their ridicule and sneers. I shall never forget the look of 
recognition she gave me when she saw, by my remarks, that 
I comprehended the problem of woman's rights and wrongs. 
How beautiful she looked to me that day ! 

..." Mrs. Mott was to me an entirely new revelation of 
womanhood. I sought every opportunity to be at her side, 
and continually plied her with questions, and I shall never 
cease to be grateful for the patience and seeming pleasure, 
with which she fed my hungering soul. On one occasion, 
with a large party, we visited the British Museum, where it 
is supposed all people go to see the wonders of the world. 
On entering, Mrs. Mott and myself sat down near the door 
to rest for a few moments, telling the party to go on, that 
we would follow. They accordingly explored all the de- 
partments of curiosities, supposing we were slowly follow- 
ing at a distance ; but when they returned, there we sat in 
the same spot, having seen nothing but each other, wholly 
absorbed in questions of theology and social life. She had 
told me of the doctrines and divisions among ' Friends ; ' of 
the inward light ; of Mary Wollstonecraft, her social theo- 
ries, and her demands of equality for women. I had been 
reading Combe's < Constitution of Man,' and ' Moral Phi- 
losophy,' Channing's works, and Mary Wollstonecraft, 
though all tabooed by orthodox teachers ; but I had never 
heard a woman talk what, as a Scotch Presbyterian, I had 
scarcely dared to think. 



" On the following Sunday I went to hear Mrs. Mott 
preach in a Unitarian church. Though I had never heard 
a woman speak, yet I had long believed she had the right 
to do so, and had often expressed the idea in private circles ; 
but when at last I saw a woman rise up in the pulpit and 
preach earnestly and impressively, as Mrs. Mott always 
did, it seemed to me lik£ the realization of an oft-repeated, 
happy dream. The day we visited the Zoological Gardens, 
as we were admiring the gorgeous plumage of some beauti- 
ful birds, one of our gentlemen opponents remarked, ' You 
see, Mrs. Mott, our Heavenly Father believes in bright 
colors. How much it would take from our pleasure, if all 
the birds were dressed in drab.' ' Yes,' said she, ' but im- 
mortal beings do not depend on their feathers for their at- 
traction. With the infinite variety of the human face and 
form, of thought, feeling, and affection, we do not need 
gorgeous apparel to distinguish us. Moreover, if it is fit- 
ting that woman should dress in every color of the rain- 
bow, why not man also ? Clergymen, with their black 
clothes and white cravats, are quite as monotonous as 
Quakers.' . . . 

" I found in this new friend a woman emancipated from 
all faith in man-made creeds, from all fear of his denuncia- 
tions. Nothing was too sacred for her to question, as to its 
rightfulness in principle and practice. ' Truth for authority, 
not authority for truth,' was not only the motto of her life, 
but it was the fixed mental habit in which she most rigidly 
held herself. . . . When I confessed to her my great enjoy- 
ment in works of fiction, dramatic performances, and dan- 
cing, and feared that from underneath that Quaker bonnet 
would come some platitudes on the demoralizing influence 
of such frivolities, she smiled, and said, ' I regard dancing 
a very harmless amusement ; ' and added, ' the Evangelical 
Alliance, that so readily passed a resolution declaring dan- 
cing a sin for a church member, tabled a resolution de- 
claring slavery a sin for a bishop.' 



" Sitting alone one day, as we were about to separate in 
London, I expressed to her my great satisfaction in our ac- 
quaintance, and thanked her for the many religious doubts 
and fears she had banished from my mind. She said, 
' There is a broad distinction between religion and the- 
ology. The one is a natural, human experience, common 
to all well-organized minds. The other is a system of spec- 
ulations about the unseen, and unknowable, which the hu- 
man mind has no power to grasp, or explain ; and these 
speculations vary with every sect, age, and type of civiliza- 
tion. No one knows any more of what lies beyond our 
sphere of action, than thou and I ; and we know nothing.' " 

It is also interesting, in this connection, to read an 
account of the World's Convention, written by Rich- 
ard D. Webb, of Dublin, and published in the "Dub- 
lin Weekly Herald " in the early autumn of 1840. 
Before this year, Mr. Webb had no personal acquaint- 
ance with James and Lucretia Mott, although each 
knew the other by reputation. Their friendship, 
shown in the letters that follow in later chapters, 
dated from their meeting in London, and continued 
throughout their lives. 

" Freemason's Hall, Great Queen st., Drury Lane, where 
the Convention held its first and most interesting sittings, 
is a noble room, and one of the largest in London. The 
delegates occupied the body of the hall, with the exception 
of one portion of the end opposite to the entrance, which 
was appropriated to those ladies who were admitted as vis- 
itors. They attended in considerable numbers, and mate- 
rially contributed, by their presence, to relieve the sombre 
and solemn air of the assembly ; for the Convention was 
largely made up of dissenting ministers and plain Quakers, 
who, whatever may be the case elsewhere, form a large pro- 
portion of the 6 pledged philanthropy ' of England. . . . 

" The middle of the front seat of the ladies' own portion 



of the hall, was the usual seat of one who was certainly one 
of the most remarkable women in the whole assembly. 
Opinions differed materially as to whether Clarkson, Bux- 
ton, O'Connell, Garrison, Thompson, Sturge, or Birney were 
the greatest men, but nobody doubted that Lucretia Mott 
was the lioness of the Convention. She is a thin, petite, 
dark-complexioned woman, about fifty years of age. She 
has striking intellectual features, and bright vivacious eyes. 
This lady has the enviable celebrity of being one of the 
most undaunted, consistent, able, and indefatigable friends 
of the slave ; being paramount even amongst the female 
abolitionists of America. Harriet Martineau, in one of 
her thrilling essays on American Slavery, notices her as 6 a 
woman of an intellect as sound and comprehensive, as her 
heart is noble ; ' and from what we have seen and heard 
of her, we believe the compliment to be no more than 

" Although one of the delegates from the American 
Anti-Slavery Society to the Convention, she was prevented 
from taking her place in that character, by a vote passed 
in the very first sitting, which decided that gentlemen only 
were intended to be summoned by the London Convention, 
through whom the assembly was convoked. Some have 
thought that, although the ladies were defeated by a large 
majority of votes, the weight of argument was much in 
their favor. We shall not discuss the question here, as to 
whether it is right for women to take an active and prom- 
inent part with their brethren in promoting philanthropic 
objects ; but we shall take the liberty to express our wish, 
that half the temper, fullness of mind, warmth of heart, 
distinctness of utterance, facility of elucidation, and vivac- 
ity of manners, which distinguish Lucretia Mott, had been 
the gift of nine tenths of the gentlemen who raised their 
voices in the Convention on behalf of the slave, and for 
our edification. We have learned, (and we think it but 
fair to give the cause of woman's rights the benefit of the 


fact,) that the domestic economy of Lucretia Mott's house- 
hold is admirable. In the language of one of our inform- 
ants, ' everything goes on like clock - work.' She is an 
early riser, a diligent housewife, and thus makes time to 
attend to the many objects of her care and attention. She 
is a proof, that it is possible for woman to widen her sphere 
without deserting it, or neglecting the duties which appro- 
priately devolve upon her at home. . . . 

" She is a Minister of the Society of Friends, and is one 
of the most distinguished and eloquent preachers in Phila- 
delphia. She dresses with .the utmost degree of Quaker 
simplicity known in these islands ; yet we heard that in 
some points she would have been looked upon as rather 
' gay ' for a very plain Friend in America, which is almost 
past our comprehension. Yet she is no precisian herself, 
and is more zealous in recommending that rational sim- 
plicity which results from humility and Christian principle, 
than the adoption of any system of external uniformity. 

et One of her favorite themes is the importance of en- 
couraging the use of free labor produce, and of abstaining 
as far as possible from all the fruits of slavery. She con- 
siders that those who protest against slave-holders, yet make 
no scruple of purchasing the fruits of their oppression and 
injustice, are about as consistent as the man who would 
exclaim against a thief, and then turn round and purchase 
from him his ill-gotten booty. She unites with many of 
her friends in Philadelphia, who are similarly concerned 
in procuring (although at an increased expense,) as much 
free labor cotton as suffices for their consumption, and that 
of their families ; thus holding forth a consistent example 
in their own persons, while pleading in behalf of the slave. 
We have even heard that where the choice lies between 
their own convenience, and abstinence from the blood- 
stained produce, they freely prefer the latter alternative 3 
if abstinence be practicable. 

" The day we left London after the conclusion of the 



Convention, we met Lucretia Mott in the Egyptian saloon 
of the British Museum, where her slender figure, animated 
features, and simple attire, contrasted strangely with the 
cold and solemn relics of primeval times, by which she 
was surrounded. We heard her remark on that occasion, 
that it was hardly reasonable to wonder so much at the 
idolatry of the Egyptians, seeing that the prostration of 
mind which prevails in the present day, if not so revolting 
in its manifestations, is at least as profound. 

" The next time we met with her, was on the platform 
of the usual meeting at the Royal Exchange, Dublin, which 
she was invited to attend, by one of the gentlemen who 
had become acquainted with her at the Convention. Being 
requested by the chairman to address the assembly, her 
speech delighted the audience exceedingly. Great num- 
bers of workingmen and their wives and daughters were 
present ; the meeting was much crowded, but the utmost 
silence, attention, and decorum were observed. Her re- 
marks were discursive ; the Anti-Slavery enterprise, moral 
reform, temperance, and the promotion of peace, were all 
touched upon, not forgetting another of her favorite themes, 
the exaltation of the moral and social condition of woman. 
Her clear voice and simple language, and the beauty and 
benevolence of her sentiments, sent her thoughts home to 
the hearts of her hearers, who listened with deep attention, 
and greeted her conclusion with tokens of the most cordial 

"Her husband, James Mott, a highly respectable Phil- 
adelphia merchant, was also a delegate to the Convention. 
He is a staunch abolitionist, and we are mistaken if be- 
neath his somewhat reserved manners we did not discover 
much goodness of heart, sound sense, and worth of char- 
acter. His home has long been the resort of the hunted 
slave ; there the insulted man of color, too, is treated as 
free and equal, and every friend of humanity is sure of a 
kind reception. Indeed, we believe there is hardly a dis- 



tinguished abolitionist in America, to whom James and Lu- 
cretia Mott are not intimately, or favorably known. At 
the great public meeting held shortly after the Convention 
in Glasgow, for the purpose of giving a reception to the 
American delegates, Garrison concluded his speech by say- 
ing that ' he could not forego the opportunity of saying a 
few words in reference to Lucretia Mott. She was the 
first woman who gave him the right hand of fellowship 
when he came out of prison, and she stood by him in many 
perils and dangers. He was deeply indebted to her, under 
God, for the measure of perseverance he had been enabled 
to bring to bear on the cause.' " 

The first letter that Lucretia Mott wrote after her 
return to America was to her new friend, Richard 
D. Webb. This, with one addressed to Elizabeth 
Pease, forms a natural sequel to the Diary ; they 
are therefore introduced here, rather than among the 
letters of the succeeding chapters : — 

Phila., 10th mo. 12th, 1840. 

Dear Richard and Hannah Webb, — What can I 
write that will be worth sending across the Atlantic ? Here 
we are at home again, and entering into our every day 
avocations, just as if we had not been made somebodies 
in our Fatherland. I mean out of the Convention ! But 
with all our fault-finding of that august assemblage, it was 
a most interesting two weeks that we were admitted spec- 
tators of its doings. I really think I appreciate its proceed- 
ings and productions more fully now, than while we were 
with you, and while the wrong done to dear Wm. L. Gar- 
rison and others, was uppermost with us. We shall send 
you our Report to the Female Society here. It was writ- 
ten by Mary Grew. 

Our voyage home was pleasant — twenty-nine days' pas- 
sage. We were not much sick after the third day out. We 
found our family in good health, and all things gone on well 



in our absence. Our son-in-law, Edward M. Davis, we 
passed on the ocean, and knew it not till our arrival in N. 
Y., when we were told that he had gone to France on busi- 
ness. How I wish he could see some of those noble souls iu 
Dublin, whom we love so well ! Abby Kimber and Sarah 
Pugh remained a day or so in N. Y., so we came home 
without them. Abby is now in the city and is coming here 
this evening to meet a bridal party, in honor of J. Miller 
McKim, agent of our Anti-Slavery office. He has lately 
married one of the finest Quaker girls of Chester Co., and 
is well-nigh a Quaker himself — of the right sort, I mean. 
He came to the city in 1833 to attend the memorable A. S. 
Convention, and was one of the youngest signers of the 
notable Declaration. He was then preparing himself for 
the pulpit in the Presbyterian Society — the religion of 
his education. We frequently conversed together, touch- 
ing the doctrines or dogmas of that Society ; and on his 
return home, he read some of Dr. Channing's works, and 
some goodly Friends' books we furnished him, and the re- 
sult was an entire change of views. He wrote an " Ad- 
dress to the Wilmington Presbytery," avowing his change, 
which I should like to send you ; I think your young 
friend Charles Corkran would like to read it. He now 
rejoices in his spiritual liberty, and I doubt not even you 
would admit that he is every whit as good, as when grop- 
ing in the midnight darkness of sectarian theology. How 
sorry I am that you — I mean Friends in England, Scot- 
land, and Ireland — have engrafted so much of this creed- 
religion on your simple Quaker stock. Most heartily did 
I respond to the remarks in Richard's letter to us, on the 
comparative unimportance of creeds and professions. 

Have you seen the Glasgow Friends' disclaimer, signed 
by Wm. Smeal (honestly ?) ; and James Mott's reply to 
it? Garrison has copied it into the Liberator; subjecting 
himself to another charge of bringing in "foreign topics." 
If some of our dear Friends on your side of the Atlantic 



could only have a correct statement of the causes of the 
separation in our Society, and of our real situation here, it 
seems to me that there would be some among you with suf- 
ficient moral courage to make a stand against the " Church 
and State " influence, that is crushing the minds of so many 
- in your miclst. But I forbear. With you we will rejoice 
, that there are so many points on which we can agree. 

I close with the warmest affection toward you all. When 
may we hope to see some of you in our city, and return a 
part of the many kindnesses we received at your hands ? 
You were often, very often, the subject on our voyage 
home. Let us hear from you directly as often as you can. 

Ever yours, L. Mott. 

Phila., 2nd mo. 18th, 1841. 

My dear Elizabeth Pease, — . . . Joseph Adshead 
called on us two days since. I regretted much that we 
could not have more of his company. It does my heart 
good to meet any one from England, since our most de- 
lightful visit in that far-famed land, and especially to greet 
one so closely united with thy father and thyself. . . . 
How we rejoice in thy allegiance to William Lloyd Garri- 
son and the right ! . . . We have had lately some most 
pleasant meetings of our English company, or rather, our 
ship's company. Our beloved Isaac Winslow is here, and 
we have been from house to house in social parties, when 
we have talked over many of the scenes through which we 
passed so pleasantly together. The high-handed measures 
to which some of us were subjected were placed in the far- 
distant background, as well as the petty indulgence of the 
spirit of sectarism ; while very near to our view, as w r ell as 
to our hearts' best feelings, were the great kindness and 
attention of our many dear friends. It ever affords a de- 
lightful retrospect. That three months' travel and sojourn 
came up to my fondest anticipations. . . . My husband has 
been with me to the Legislatures of Delaware, New Jersey, 
and our own State, where a patient and respectful audience 



was granted while I plead the cause of the oppressed. I 
have also attended five of our Quarterly Meetings since our 
return home, and have some more in prospect. 

With kind regards to thy parents, and the love of us all 
in large measure to thyself, 

I am thine with a sister's freedom, 


In the course of the following winter, James Mott 
published a small book entitled, " Three Months in 
Great Britain," in which he gives his impressions of 
English civilization, and narrates in full some per- 
sonal experiences, to which his wife only alludes in 
her diary. His observations are quaintly different 
from those of the ordinary sight-seer. 

" Windsor Castle is one of the many monuments of the 
extravagance and folly of the English nobility and aris- 
tocracy, which oppresses the laborer by taking from him 
in the shape of impost and taxes, so much of his earnings, 
as to leave but a scanty subsistence for himself. . . . We 
met with scarcely any, who appeared to see the effect of 
the large parks and palaces on the population. They seem 
to think it a kind of charity in the legal owners to employ 
hundreds of persons in beautifying these places, forgetting 
that their labor produces nothing that ministers to the real 
wants and comforts of life ; and that the wages thus paid 
are first taken from the producing laborer without compen- 
sation, enabling the few to live in idleness, luxury, and ex- 
travagance, at the expense of the many. . . . 

" During our stay in London we visited many places of 
interest and curiosity, and contrasted the residences of the 
lords and nobles, their splendid equipage and retinue, with 
the wretched abodes of thousands, who were contriving ways 
to obtain a few pennies wherewith to lengthen out a miser- 
able existence. The difference of condition is very striking 
to any observant American, and should be a warning to us 



to adhere to such institutions in our country as will secure 
and perpetuate a truly democratic form of government, in 
which the greatest good to the greatest number is the ob- 
ject, instead of the good of the few at the expense of the 

" Persons were beginning to assemble for the purpose of 
attending the approaching Anti-Slavery Convention. In 
order that they might have an opportunity to become ac- 
quainted with each other, especially those from foreign 
countries, the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti- 
Slavery Society gave general invitations to tea at their 
rooms. It had not been usual for women to be invited, but 
as several had crossed the Atlantic, to manifest their inter- 
est in the cause of the slave, and to give their aid to such 
measures as would promote his liberation, it was concluded 
by the committee to deviate from their custom on this oc- 
casion. On the first evening, only one woman 1 was present 
beside those from our country ; on the second, a number 
more attended ; and on the third, nearly as many as of the 
other sex. 

" Soon after getting there, on the second evening, I was 
told that some persons wished to see me in a back room ; 
following my informant, I found two Friends in waiting, 
neither of whom I had seen before. They shook hands 
with me, and one said, ' I am Josiah Forster, and- this is 
Jacob Post ; ' to which I replied, that having a letter for 
Jacob Post, I was glad of this opportunity to deliver it ; 
and I was also pleased to meet with Josiah Forster, hav- 
ing read with interest some years ago a correspondence be- 
tween him and my grandfather. After some conversation, 
which the mention of this circumstance led into, J. Forster 
remarked, they had understood that on the previous even- 
ing myself, or wife, had made use of some expressions as if 
we were members of the Society of Friends, and they had 
received information from the United States, that we were 

1 Elizabeth Pease. 



not. To which I answered, that I did not know what in- 
formation they had received, but that we were members of 
the Society of Friends, and had a certificate of the fact 
from the Monthly Meeting to which we belonged, at the 
same time handing it to them to read, which they did, 
with the remark that there were a good many names to it, 
and with some objection to its address ; but they could not 
recognize us as Friends. This I told them we were fully 
aware of, and we wished to pass for just what we were, 
and our position to be fairly understood, but that their un- 
willingness to acknowledge us did not alter the fact of our 
being members of the Society of Friends ; and while we 
claimed so to be, we had no disposition to impose upon 
them, and no alarm need be felt on that account. J. Fors- 
ter said he hoped we should have a pleasant visit, and be 
treated with kindness, but we must not expect to receive 
much attention from Friends, particularly from such as had 
young people about them, fearing the dangerous tendency 
of our doctrines. This first open exhibition of prejudice 
and bigotry made me feel somewhat sad for a time, but 
we soon saw so much of it, that my sadness was turned to 

"In the course of the same evening my wife was requested 
to give an account of the mob at Smyrna, that obliged 
Daniel Neall to walk two miles through the mud. In nar- 
rating the circumstance, she mentioned that they were trav- 
eling with a minute in the usual order of Friends, adding, 
6 1 suppose it is understood here that when I speak of our 
Friends, I do not allude to those in connection with Friends 
in this country.' As soon as she had finished a detail of 
the occurrence, J. Forster said, that altho' Lucretia Mott 
had kindly stated that she was not in connection with those 
acknowledged by them as Friends in America, yet he felt 
conscientiously bound to inform those present, that she was 
not a member of the Society of Friends, and could not be 
recognized by them as such. To this I rejoiued that we 



considered ourselves as belonging to that religious body in 
America, and that I had a certificate in my pocket from 
the Monthly Meeting to which we were attached, which I 
would read if any one desired ; and that it was probably 
known to those interested, that a division had taken place 
in the Society in the United States ; but as our object in 
being there was not necessarily connected with any secta- 
rian views, we had no wish to intrude the subject; still we 
were prepared to meet it then, or at any other time. Sev- 
eral disapproved of Josiah's remarks, and rebuked him for 
them, as being improper and out of place. 

" The subject of admitting women as delegates to the 
Convention was much talked of in social circles. The Eng- 
lish committee, having conferred with some members of the 
executive committee in New York, and influenced by their 
representations, seemed alarmed at the idea of such an in- 
novation on their customs and usages. The circumstance, 
they alleged, would be mentioned in the newspapers, and 
the Convention might be the subject of ridicule. On such 
flimsy reasons and excuses, the right was assumed to ex- 
clude women as delegates, and only admit them as visitors ; 
but even this was a small advance in the path of freedom, 
they never before having been admitted to any business 

" The subject of the admission of women was brought 
up on the first day of the Convention by Wendell Phillips, 
whose wife had been delegated by the Massachusetts Soci- 
ety. An animated and somewhat excited discussion en- 
sued, which continued several hours, when it was decided 
in the negative by a pretty large majority. Wm. Ashurst 
pointed them to the inconsistency of ' calling a World's Con- 
vention to abolish slavery, and at its threshold depriving 
half the world of their liberty.' 

" The female delegation, finding themselves thus ex- 
cluded, requested they might have an opportunity to confer 
with their sisters in England on the subject of slavery, by 



having a meeting with them alone. A few manifested a 
reluctance to granting this reasonable request, but others 
appeared favorable. But their sectarian fears so overcame 
their Anti-Slavery feeling that they were unwilling to trust 
the women of England to meet half a dozen from Amer- 
ica, on account of the religious opinions of the latter ; and 
I am not alone in believing that this had some influence in 
the decision of the Convention ; but we were unable to see 
what our opinions on doctrines had to do in preventing our 
pleading the cause of down-trodden humanity. 

" Great credit, however, is due to English abolitionists 
for their devotion, industry, and perseverance in doing 
what they could to break the chains of slavery, and for the 
liberality they have manifested, in raising large sums of 
money to carry on this work of justice and benevolence, 
and for the kindness and courtesy extended towards those 
from foreign lands, who were drawn together on that occa- 
sion. . . . 

" The opportunities I had for observation, though limited, 
satisfied me that a great portion of the Society of Friends 
in England, particularly among the young and middle-aged, 
know very little about the circumstances of the division in 
the Society in the United States, or that it was caused by 
that domineering spirit of intolerance, which now has its 
iron grasp upon many of them. 

" Friends in England, from their habits of industry and 
economy, have become rich ; and from this cause, added to 
their kindness of disposition and active benevolence, have 
obtained great influence in neighborhoods where they 
reside, and in the nation at large. They have received 
a full share of attention and praise from those who are 
called the higher classes, the gentry, nobility, and clergy. 
Pleased with the flattery bestowed on them, they have 
been gradually sliding from the simple doctrine of obedi- 
ence to the " light within " as the ground of salvation, into 
the belief, that assent to the dogmas of school divinity is 


essential ; so that many have come to the conclusion that 
the letter of the Scriptures is the paramount rule of action. 
A considerable number have joined other denominations. 
I apprehend that, unless Friends in England return to the 
simple doctrine of Quakerism, as believed in and incul- 
cated by George Fox and his contemporaries, instead of 
placing so much importance on an assent to particular opin- 
ions, they will be in danger of being swallowed up with the 
unintelligible dogmas of Church and State theology, while 
they may retain their identity in forms and peculiarity of 
dress, and address. Although I have, perhaps, expressed 
myself strongly in reference to what I consider the declen- 
sion of the Society of Friends in England, it is with no 
feelings of unkindness toward them as a body, or to any 
individually, but for the purpose of showing what appeared 
to me to be their present situation, and that with our 
Friends they can have no unity or religious fellowship." 


During the months of the absence of James and 
Lucretia Mott from the United States, and indeed, 
for some time previous to their going away, the con- 
dition of the Society of Friends at home was becom- 
ing more and more unsettled. The popular oppo- 
sition to the Anti-Slavery cause was growing more 
bitter and more widely extended, and the zeal and 
earnestness of the abolition party was increasing in 
even greater ratio. The South, daily more violent, 
combined with the large cities of the North, where 
the mercantile interest preponderated, to demand 
that the abolitionists should be crushed at any cost. 
This feeling found large sympathy among Friends 
in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Much 
indignation was shown that any member of the So- 
ciety — and especially a woman, an approved minis- 
ter — should be an active co-worker with those who 
were constantly agitating the question of slavery ; a 
question which threatened the peace of the whole 
country, and endangered the fortunes of those en- 
gaged in the cotton business ; but the zeal of Lucre- 
tia Mott was only increased by this insensibility to 
the enormity of the transcendant evil among the 
members of her own religious communion. She was 
not a frequent preacher. In meetings for worship 
she was careful to give precedence to strangers, 
never seeming to forget that she was not the only 


one who had the right to speak. She ever bore in 
mind the injunction of the Apostle: " Let the 
prophets speak, two or three, and let the others 
judge. If anything be revealed to another that sit- 
teth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may 
all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all 
may be comforted." 

But when she did speak, she would have consid- 
ered herself faithless, and disobedient to the voice of 
God in her own soul, had she not borne her testi- 
mony against the great sin of human slavery. 

Among those who were active in the cause of 
abolition were many who held no connection with 
any religious sect; men and women of blameless 
lives, " who had been careful to maintain good works." 
Toward such, the conservative members of the So- 
ciety of Friends entertained an undisguised aversion. 
On the contrary, Lucretia Mott regarded them with 
sympathetic interest, while they, in turn, were espe- 
cially attracted by her liberal sentiments and en- 
larged charity. In addition to these, her company 
was often sought by persons of superior endowments, 
who were members of other sects, and held orthodox 
opinions. Her interviews with such are to be remem- 
bered as seasons of touching interest; she not only 
effectively discussed with them the question of slav- 
ery in its moral and religious aspects, but, when it 
seemed called for, was ever ready to give a reason 
for the faith that was in her. 

Notwithstanding her faithfulness in upholding by 
precept and example the vital testimonies of the 
Society of Friends, during all this active association 
with " world's people," it was becoming matter of 
offense to many of the prominent members to have 



one of their own anointed " mingling with others " 
in a work so unpopular and distasteful as Abolition. 
The disaffection towards her was greatly augmented 
by ministers and others of some position in the So- 
ciety, openly opposing her in meetings for discipline ; 
and especially was this hostility developed in the 
Select Meeting of Ministers and Elders. Such were 
the occurrences in these meetings, so wholly were 
they at variance with Christian charity and dignity, 
that she became convinced that the purposes for 
which they were instituted were lost sight of, and 
that their continued existence would be productive 
of more harm than good. It would have been a 
relief to her, could she have withdrawn from them 
altogether ; but this would have constituted her an 
" offender," and have rendered her liable to be 
" dealt with " and deposed as an acknowledged min- 
ister. She was careful to give her opponents no le- 
gitimate cause of action against her, for she greatly 
desired to remain not only in the Society, but as an 
" approved minister " in it. Not only was this a 
matter of justice to herself ; it was also because she 
loved her Society, its traditions, its inheritance, and 
its principles. Efforts were not wanting to bring 
her case before the Select Meeting, and at one time 
they were well-nigh successful ; but owing to her 
thorough and familiar acquaintance with the provis- 
ions of the Discipline, and her experience in their 
administration, conjoined with her sagacity in their 
proper application, she was enabled to ward off the 
attacks, to the chagrin and disappointment of those 
who would have been gratified with her expulsion. 
One of the members confessed to another that " many 
difficulties would be removed, if Lucretia would only 



resign." It is pleasant to remember, that throughout 
this bitter season of hostility, she had the sympathy 
of many of the younger members of the Society, 
who, though uninfluential, and unable to check the 
tide of persecution, gave her a moral support which 
v was always a source of strength and encouragement 
to her. 

The opposition which she encountered was greatly 
increased by the superserviceable activity of minis- 
ters from other Yearly Meetings, who came with 
" minutes " to attend that held in Philadelphia. 
Some of these went to meetings in different sections 
of the country within the compass of Philadelphia 
Yearly Meeting, and " held forth" against those who 
had felt called to take an active part in the anti-slav- 
ery struggle. In all this the New York Monthly 
Meeting took a very prominent part. Not satisfied 
with having disowned three of their own members, 
they sent letters to Philadelphia, making complaint 
against Lucre tia Mott, in the hope that she might be 
" dealt with," deposed from the ministry, and pos- 
sibly deprived of her right of membership. It was 
not their fault that they were not successful. 

Among those most active against her was George 
F. White, of New York. He had been separated 
from membership for some years, but had been re- 
ceived again into the Society and had become one 
of its most popular preachers. It was his assumed 
mission to attack reforms and reformers in vituper- 
ative language. He was a man possessed of greater 
intellectual endowments than most of his fellow- 
preachers, and being gifted with a talent for a par- 
ticular species of declamatory eloquence, he readily 
secured large audiences. In his frequent visits to 



Philadelphia, he found many hearers who sympa- 
thized with his views, while others were led by curi- 
osity to listen to his denunciations. He was emi- 
nently successful, for a season, in holding those who 
were engaged in the anti-slavery cause up to ridi- 
cule and odium ; and there were not a few who found 
it easy to tread in his footsteps. 

It is certainly no pleasant task to recall the occur- 
rences which took place in the Society during these 
years of the anti-slavery struggle. Quaker tradi- 
tions, testimonies, principles, were not proof against 
the pro-slavery spirit that had corrupted the nation, 
and the Society of that period has left us an inherit- 
ance of shame which we would gladly forget. But 
this memoir would be one-sided, and would fail to 
exhibit the strength and depth of the characters of 
James and Lucretia Mott, should this part of their 
life's history be omitted. Never were patience, for- 
bearance, courage, and faith, more severely tried ; 
never more surely and conspicuously rewarded. The 
time came when the crown of thorns, worn for so 
many years by the brave band of abolitionists, 
changed to a crown of laurel. In that hour of tri- 
umph, how many claimed to share its glory ! The 
sweet, forgiving charity of these two overlooked the 
inconsistency in the congratulations showered upon 
them ; but to others, less magnanimous, it was amaz- 
ing to witness the felicitations they received from 
former opponents, who, clothed in complacent self- 
delusion, seemed entirely forgetful of their own dis- 
creditable record. 

Lucretia Mott wrote few letters addressed to per- 
sons not connected with her own family. Those fur- 
nished in this and the following chapter were written 
to valued friends of whose sympathy she was assured. 



Phila., 11th mo. 8th, 1839. 

My much loved N. and E. Barney, — I fondly 
hoped to meet you at the anniversary in Boston, and with 
regret learned by Nathaniel's acceptable letter, that sick- 
ness was one cause of his absence. Do be careful in the 
observance of the laws of health, for I can't learn resignation 
to the good and the useful not living out half their days. 

I can assure you the word of encouragement never 
reached me when more needed, than at the time of the re- 
ception of that letter. Our New York friends took um- 
brage at my going to a non-resistance meeting, and talked 
themselves into an idea that it was almost a wicked step. 

G. F. White made the subject of war his theme the First- 
day following, and after admitting that no consistent Chris- 
tian could take arms, he added, that he could believe the 
warrior with his weapon in hand, ready to destroy his 
brother, might yet be nearer the kingdom of Heaven, than 
a member of a non-resistance society. So he might have 
said of a member of a Quaker Soc 7 . We all know that 
simple membership does not confer a testimony. Else 
might he have a cleaner one against slavery. Not satisfied 
with that opportunity, he came here, had the members of 
our three mg s collected at the Cherry St. house, with many 
others not of our fold. His text was " He who will resist 
God, will resist man." He went on to show how the " hire- 
lings " of the day were resisting God, as that class ever 
had done ; how preposterous then for such to profess the 
principles of non-resistance. He warned the young peo- 
ple against being caught in their snares ; their " vine was 
as the vine of Sodom, and their grapes bitter ; " that some 
were well-nigh hugged to death by them. What did woman 
want in the name of rights, but liberty to roam over the 
country from Dan to Beersheba, spurning the protection of 
man ; to traverse the streets and lanes of the city ; to travel 



in stages and steamboats, by day lines and night lines with- 
out a male protector ? For himself, before he would submit 
to the dictation of an imperious woman, he would traverse 
the earth while there was a foot of ground to tread upon, 
and swim the rivers while there was water to swim in ; that 
an Elder in the Soc y had said at his table, that she did not 
intend to marry until she found a man to whose judgment 
she could surrender her own. These were the sentiments 
that would win the hearts of men ; to such as these a man 
would bring his treasures, and pour " into her lap and kneel 
at her feet," etc. 

All this in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ! ! This 
is nearly verbatim. Similar denunciations of anti-slavery 
and non-resistance soc es were repeated at the Western and 
Cain Quarterly Mg s , which he attended with a minute of 
unity from his Mo. M s . Benj. Ferris accompanied him, 
and in a letter to Rich d Price reported what he said, as set- 
ting in a true and clear light the delusion of modern aboli- 
tionism ; exposing those who had been led away by it. 

I should not give you these particulars, but that these 
meetings have produced some excitement among us, and 
party spirit is in danger of having the ascendancy. And 
with the hope that you may exercise the holy office of 
peace- makers, I want you to be apprised early of the 
state we are in. Some of our dear young people are much 
puzzled to understand how Stephen Treadwell and G. F. 
White can both be right, and their messages diametrically 
opposite. A young man from the Western Quarter thus 
writes to me ; . . . "I write to try to dispel the burden that 
is resting upon me. It is distressing to honest minds to 
see two or more ' public Friends ' traveling around, both 
professing to be led by the unerring light, and yet their 
doctrine diverging to the widest extremes. The attack 
upon non-resistants was most unexpected. I almost shud- 
dered as he heaped his denunciations upon them. Instantly 
my mind glanced over the names of a Chapman, Garrison, 



May, Capron, Burleigh, and Quincy, and my spirit sank 
with despondency, and yet with something of indignation, 
when I recollected that he was an accredited Minister of 
the Soc y of Friends. Shame on such professors ! a few 
such will scatter our Society to the winds, and Quakerism 
will no longer have an organized form ! Oh, how differ- 
ent were his doctrines from that which inculcates an every- 
day religion which a man can carry with him on all occa- 
sions, and practically apply in all cases." . . . 

Now, this is a young man who, a few years ago, when but 
a stripling, took a stand alone against intemperance, when 
not a society was in existence in his neighborhood ; but 
having a brother who had fallen a victim to that dire sin, 
he was awakened to the subject. His faithfulness in this 
prepared his mind for the reception of other subjects of 
moral reform, and he became an active abolitionist, and 
made sacrifices of gain and health by lecturing on the sub- 
ject. He has also done much among his associates to im- 
prove their taste in literature, by establishing a library of 
useful works ; and as a Friend, though not in the sectarian 
exterior, is without reproach. How desirable that such 
efforts should meet with every encouragement ! It may 
appear strange to you that I should thus write ; and if I 
could detect in myself any germ of unkind feeling toward 
G. F. W., I should hesitate. But I have been so cast down 
in view of what awaits the Society if this spirit of judging 
and condemning is not arrested, that I have sought relief 
by expression in this way. As to replying from the gal- 
lery, my fervent prayer is to " answer not again," but hav- 
ing done well, and suffering for it, to take it patiently. . . . 

Affect ly L. Mott. 


Phil A., 4th mo. 2nd, 1841. 

My dear Friends, Richard and Hannah Webb, — 
How little I can write of interest, after the long letter of 



my husband; as to theology, I am sick of disputes on that 
subject; though I cannot say just as my husband has — 
that he " does n't care a fig about it " — for I do want those 
I love to see their way out of the darkness and error 
with which they are surrounded. Moreover, I think there 
is so much harm done by teaching the doctrine of human 
depravity and dependence on a vicarious atonement, that 
I feel constrained to call on all, everywhere, to yield such 
a mistaken and paralyzing dogma. Richard is greatly mis- 
taken in saying our Friends are " declaredly Unitarian." 
They would be horror-struck at the idea of it ! 

George F. White, the notable " Hicksite Priest," who 
"in season and out of season" assails abolitionists, non- 
resistants, and temperance men, has lately been in the 
city, warning our Meeting against " modern Unitarianism." 
What man of straw he has been building for himself with 
that cognomen, I know not ; but we perceive that some are 
searching Elias Hicks' writings, and remembering his say- 
ings, in proof that he was as much opposed to Unitarians, 
as to any other sect. He was, nevertheless, unitarian in 
sentiment, whether they know it or not ; and so were Wil- 
liam Penn, and some other of our early Friends. But 
they, as well as some of our modern Friends, threw a veil 
of mysticism and obscure expression around them — re- 
serving to themselves an understanding of " Christ, the 
Light," which many of their readers fail to perceive. This 
practice strikes me as not quite honest; and yet when 
questions are put, to see how we may be caught in our 
words, we have high authority for parrying a little, at least 
so far as to say, " I will also ask you." George Combe's 
" Notes on the U. S. A., during a Phrenological visit," is 
just out, in which he represents our Friends as Unitarians. 
Many of our members are sorely aggrieved by this state- 
ment, as well as by his saying that we left the Society, 
instead of the fact, that they left us and the original doc- 
rines of Friends. It troubles me not at all ; for our sta- 


bility and usefulness as a Society, depend, not so much on 
the opinious of us, as on our strict adherence to our cardi- 
nal doctrine of the sufficiency of the "light within," and 
righteousness without. We hoped to send you some books 
by this opportunity, but the bearer of our letters cannot 
take parcels. Now I '11 have done with theology. 

Your letter, with Cha s L. Corkran's addition, was most 
acceptable. I feel great affection for all the dear friends 
with whom we so delightfully mingled in Dublin, and shall 
long have yearnings of heart towards them ; but specially 
for your C. C. were my interests enlisted. I cherish the 
hope of seeing him comfortably settled here at no distant 
day. His honesty in the avowal of sentiments that, how- 
ever correct, have little countenance with your benighted 
sectarians ; his moral courage in acting in accordance with 
convictions, when it might affect his living ; and the devo- 
tion of his time to the moral improvement of his degraded 
and oppressed fellow-beings ; his kind attentions to us, and 

, his interest in the company and conversation of that noble 
man, Wm. L. Garrison; as well as his ready perception 
of the right, and willing acknowledgment of a change of 
views, on woman, non-resistance, etc. ; all these traits of 
^ character render him an important personage in our es- 

. timatiou. I have read his addition to your letter many 
times, and have only one amendment to propose, viz. 
when he says, " I am now quite of opinion that any 
woman who possesses the talent for publicly helping to 
advance and improve the human race should be allowed 
to exercise it ; " I move that the words " be allowed," be 
omitted. Our " freedom has so long been by suff'rance, 
and at will of a superior," that we cannot expect a ready 
recognition of independent judgment. The servitude of 
woman is by so many of her kind " kept and guarded as a 
sacred thing," that we need not look for her mental fetters 
to be soon broken. I wish we could send him some of our 
papers and periodicals, without subjecting him to postage. 



How near it makes us feel to you, to read your com- 
ments on such recent transactions as are recorded in the 
" Liberator." I fear the Sabbath, Church, and Ministry 
Convention will not effect much, the time is so occupied 
by St. Clair, Phelps, Torrey, Colver, and other bigots. It 
may set the people of priest-ridden New England to think- 
ing for themselves, and ultimately do good. 

I was glad you had an opportunity to see and admire 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We had never seen her till we 
met in England, and I love her now as one belonging to 
us. I never could regard her husband quite as a New-Or- 
ganizationist. He, and Whittier, and Birney ought to leave 
that clan, and return to their first love. They all seem to 
be retiring from the Anti-Slavery field. 

But I must not fill up my paper without telling you how 
shamefully our Hicksite-Orthodox Friends in New York, 
are treating Isaac T. Hopper and his son-in-law, James S. 
Gibbons. George F. White's pro-slavery friends, — over- 
seers of N. Y. Monthly M g , — have brought them before 
the Meeting as offenders, on the charge of aiding in circu- 
lating a paper which promotes discord among Friends. 
Geo. F. White has been preaching from the gallery for 
two years past, that which has sowed more discord than we 
shall soon be able to root out and destroy. He has been 
encouraged in his denunciations, by those who are now ac- 
tive in passing Church censure on I. T. H. and J. S. G. 
Some of us look forward to troublous times in our Church 
on account of the opposing sentiment and action on the 
subject of abolition. Cherry St. m g has not yet anything 
unpleasant to disturb the harmony. They bear with me 
and my wanderings, wonderfully well. But when our 
Yearly M g comes together, we may meet with some opposi- 
tion. Our Yearly M g ' s committee on slavery has published 
a good tract since our return. 

We do not cease to regret that our E. M. Davis did not 
take the time to go over to Dublin and see you all. His 



countenance is as open, and his heart as generous, as is 
Eliz th Stanton's. He came home late in the fall. 

I have not left room to write of the love I feel for you 
all. L. Mott. 

Allusions are made in these letters to the " dis- 
own ment " by the Monthly Meeting of New York, of 
Charles Marriott, Isaac T. Hopper, and James S. 
Gibbons, a case which is without a parallel in the 
history of the Society of Friends. 

The charge upon which they were arraigned was 
the " being concerned in the support and publication 
of a paper, which has a tendency to excite discord 
and disunity among us." The ground of the charge 
was, that they were members of the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Anti-Slavery Society, which issued the 
" Anti-Slavery Standard," — a paper, which for pu- 
rity of morals, excellence of taste, and intellectual 
ability, was not exceeded, and, perhaps, scarcely 
equaled, by any periodical of the day. Among its 
contributors were Lyclia Maria Child, Edmund 
Quincy, James Russell Lowell, and J. Miller McKim. 
It was supported by a subscription list composed of 
the names of many of the most exemplar} 7 , and en- 
lightened men and women in the country, among 
whom were members of the Society of Friends of 
both divisions. 

Such was the bitterness and want of honesty and 
fairness with which the prosecution was conducted, 
that Meetings and individuals in other parts of the 
country issued disclaimers, expressing in no measured 
terms their disapproval and regret. Charles Mar- 
riott, a man of great gentleness and sensitiveness, 
survived the unhallowed decree but for a short time. 

Isaac T. Hopper lived for about ten years longer, 



in active, earnest, and philanthropic work. The 
Monthly Meeting of New York had disowned him, 
but he never disowned the Society of Friends. The 
Friend 1 who acted as clerk of the Yearly Meeting 
at the time, one who was for many years the most 
prominent individual in that body, distinguished 
alike for his benevolence and his attachment to the 
Society, in speaking lately of this disownment, re- 
marked, " O, that sad affair ! I have repented, re- 
pented, repented ! " Upon which it was said, " But 
thou didst not appear to take an active part in the 
proceeding ; " and he replied, " Yes, I held their 
clothes while they stoned him ; it was all a mistake, 
— all wrong." 


Phila., 4th mo. 11th, 1841. 

My dear Nathaniel, — Thy welcome letter was just 
received, and if I wrote all that is in my heart in view of 
the impending storm over our Society, a volume would not 
contain the half. But I forbear. I have hesitated lately 
whether to take the pen on these truly painful subjects, 
even to commune with our beloved P. P. Willis. It has 
been so desirable that our Society should harmonize, and 
not again be rent in twain, that I have vainly hoped, by 
patiently bearing denunciation and abuse, we might event- 
ually overcome evil with good. 

The recent proceedings of those blind guides in New 
York give evidence of their state. Isaac T. Hopper writes 
to his children on the subject, as a Christian should. 

George F. White was at our m g this morning. He went 
on in his usual strain ; telling the people that man might 
live, as the Apostle Paul did, more than forty years in the 
commission of wrong acts, and still not be accountable to 
God. I am interrupted by company, and must close ab- 

1 Samuel Willets. 


13 th . — I resume my pen, but do not now feel like say- 
ing more of the wrong doings in New York, and the effort 
by some of their members to produce similar action here. 
We are, however, at peace in our several meetings, and no 
disposition is manifested to check the course of abolition. 
I felt badly on First-day last ; but we are now trying not to 
fret ourselves because of evil doers. What a fine school 
to learn non-resistance in ! " What glory is it, if, when ye 
are buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently, but if ye 
do well, etc." . . . 

We should like to have thy sentiments as to the pro- 
posed discontinuance of the organ of the National Soc 7 . 
My name stands as one of the Ex. Com., and though 
merely nominal, I would not withdraw it at this crisis, lest 
it might appear yielding somewhat to the spirit of perse- 
cution, and deserting Isaac T. Hopper in his fiery trial ; 
still, when there is such a disposition to watch how they 
may catch us in our words, I confess I prefer not to incur 
the responsibility of that which I have no opportunity of 
seeing and altering. What does thy Eliza say? Dear 
Maria Chapman is so anxious that it should be well sup- 
ported, that I should be sorry to oppose it without good 
reason. It is extremely difficult to collect the money. We 
are all poor. Now, is it prudent to go on with expendi- 
tures ? 

We should be very glad to see you at our house. 

With much love, ever L. Mott. 


Phila., 3rd mo. 6th, 1841. 

My dear Friend, — Thy letter of 2 nd mo. 24 th , I re- 
ceived yesterday. . . . The balance of funds will be handed 
over to the Female A. $. Soc y as requested. This little 
band (for few they are in number, and small in means,) 
still persevere in their efforts to aid in undoing the heavy 
burdens of the oppressed slave, and are encouraged to do 



so in the faith that their work is not in vain, or their labor 
for naught, notwithstanding the violent and unsparing de- 
nunciations heaped upon them by the pro-slavery portion 
of our citizens, among whom are some who call them- 
selves Friends ; and I fear the number of this class is in- 
creased by the preaching of some accredited ministers 
amongst us. In the city of New York, nearly all the 
Friends of that Mo. M s have followed their leader and 
gone over to the enemy ; the few who remain steadfast 
are excluded from the use of m s houses for their anti- 
slavery m gs . In this city we also have some who have 
been carried away by the preaching of George F. White. 
But the influence is yet too strong on the right side for 
his admirers to undertake any such measures as they have 
taken in N. Y. However, the busy tongue of "tale-bear- 
ing and detraction " is not idle, and what may be the re- 
sult of its poisonous influence upon our Soc y , if it shall 
continue to be indulged, it is impossible to say ; but we 
must hope for the best, and trust that right action will in 
the end produce good fruit, whatever may be the effect 
upon the actor. 

Lucretia's health is now good. She has not been idle 
the past winter, having visited the seats of government of 
Del., Penn a , and New Jersey, and held meetings, at which 
most of the members of each Legislature were present ; 
all of which were quiet and satisfactory. At Smyrna, 
where Dan 1 Neall was mobbed, we were at m s on First-day 
morn g , notice having been given. When we rode into the 
village, the piazza of the only tavern in the place was full 
of people ; many of them followed us to the m g house, a 
short distance, and attended the m g , all being quiet and 
orderly, except that one man, the leader of the mob before, 
went out when L. began to touch on the subject of slavery. 
Truth reigned, and some " who came to scoff, remained to 

After m g we found that one of the linch pins had been 


taken out of the carriage, which, however, was soon re- 
placed, and we went to the tavern, where the people were 
again collected, and calling for the landlord, asked if he 
would give us dinner and feed our horses ; he replied, that 
there was much excitement, and he sh d be much obliged to 
us to excuse him from doing so. This we were willing to 
do, and drove away ; the people around, to the number of 
fifty or more, were quiet, and I have no doubt those of them 
who had been at the m s , were far more mortified at our 
being denied a dinner that we were willing to pay for, than 
we were. Tho 8 Garrett, and wife, of Wilmington, were with 
us in their carriage. We rode thirteen miles to a friend's 
house, to put up for the night. . . . 

With much affection, thy friend, J. Mott. 


Fhila., 5th mo. 21st, 1841. 

My dear Nathaniel, — How greatly disappointed we 
were that Eliza and thyself did not come to our Yearly 
M g ! We could not give it up till the week was more than 
half gone. We thought you might wish to be at the an- 
niversary of the Am. A. S. Soc y ., and w d come here after- 
ward. Some one of our family went to the boat several 
days to meet you. Now that the time is past, and you 
were not here, can you make amends better than to pay us 
a visit after your Yearly ? 

There are many things we should like to say, that we 
cannot well put on paper. Thy letter was exceedingly in- 
teresting to us. In view of the divisions among our Friends, 
I don't wonder that thou should think of a conference on 
the subject. Still I have such hope that the present storm 
may blow over, as to lead me to desire that we may bear 
a great deal, before we take any step which would threaten 
another separation. True, the measures of Friends in Ohio, 
and in some parts of your Yearly M g , lead us more than 
" partly " to believe that there are " divisions among us." 



But if by " quietness and confidence " we can gain any 
strength, let us longer try to hold our patience. I cannot 
see that any concessions are called for at our hands ; for we 
are doing no more than is our duty to do. 

We were very glad that C. Marriott consented to serve 
another year on the Ex. Com., both for the good he may 
render the cause in that way, and the strength to Isaac T. 
Hopper and J. S. Gibbons, in bearing them company in 
their persecutions. I hope thou wilt be very faithful with 
the opposing spirits of N. Y. M°- M s . Honesty, one with 
another, is needed in this crisis. There is as much preach- 
ing that is pointed and bearing in its tendency, as we 
ever heard among our Orthodox Friends. If those who 
are dissatisfied with this, say nothing, save to one another, 
can we expect other than that the spirit of denunciation 
will be strengthened ? Rachel Hicks has come out in as new 
a character as some of the gentle spirits did in orthodox 
days. She said in our " Select M g ," on Seventh-day, that 
she had come with her life in her hands, and bound in spirit, 
to do her Master's bidding ; and after much preface of this 
kind, her message was to denounce " the three popular so- 
cieties," which she believed she should " be excused nam- 
ing," as doing more harm, or " a greater obstacle to the 
progress of Christian or spiritual liberty, than all the gross 
evils in the world ; " and much more of the same character, 
cautioning Friends against joining them. 

In the First-day m g , she likened those thus engaged, to 
the " active Peter and other disciples who would go a fish- 
ing, — and how instructive the simile, that it was night — 
and the Master was not with them, and they toiled all night 
and caught nothing. When morning came the Master came 
and directed the net cast on the right side of the ship." 
Then came the application to those engaged with " crea- 
turely zeal in popular righteousness." 

May such things be said year after year over our gal- 
lery-rail, with the claim of High Heaven's sanction, and 



because no names are mentioned, all pass for an " harmo- 
nious labor for truth's honor " ? 

We rejoiced to hear that your little band on the island 
was united, and hope it may continue so. It is not needful 
that all should think favorably of organizations, or even 
give us countenance in the course we are pursuing. All 
we ask is, that they will cease to judge us as they have 
done, and leave us to exercise our individual responsibili- 
ties and duties. And we will plead with them, if they 
cannot be for us, not to be against us ; and if they cannot 
countenance our measures, to pursue as much better as 
their best judgments may dictate ; and if theirs succeed in 
undoing the heavy burdens and letting the oppressed go 
free, they shall have praise of the same. 

Is it not encouraging, in these troublous times, that the 
anniversary m s in N. Y. was so good ! William Lloyd 
Garrison is certainly the Reformer of this age. How his 
opponents sink into insignificance in his presence ! . . . 

What dost thou think of the conclusion of Michigan 
Quarterly M s ., in regard to the "Select Meeting"? I 
have long noticed that difficulties in our Soc ty have had 
their origin in our Select Meetings, humbling as is the fact. 
Perhaps if their power were more limited, one cause of 
dissensions would be removed. 'Tis true, we often have 
good meetings together, but what is there that ought to be 
regarded as secret? lam more and more prepared for 
their discontinuance. Indeed, I am sometimes almost sick 
of religious societies ; seeing that our nature is to " bark 
and bite." I am not sorry that Michigan has come to that 

What an inconsistency to release the Slavery Com., and 
continue the Indian with an appropriation of $800 ! Among 
the items of expenditure the last year, is a sum paid an 
agent for procuring signers to petitions to Congress. Bear 
that in mind, when " hired agents" in the A. S. cause are 
denounced as " ravenous wolves " by those who make no 



complaint when it is for the Indian, who is injured and 
abased enough truly, but whose oppression and suffering 
at the hand of the whites has not been a tithe of those of 
the down-trodden negro. If the wrongs of the Indian are 
seven-fold, surely those of the negro are seventy and 

Thank thee for thy kind invitation to visit you ; but we 
expect to abide in our tents till these " calamities are over- 

With much love, thy friend, L. Mott. 


Phila., 11th mo., 22nd, 1841. 
My dear Nathaniel, . . . Thy letter was received a 
few days before I left home, accompanied by E. M. Davis 
and Sarah Pugh, to attend the m g of the Non-Resistant 
Soc y in Boston. I was much disappointed in not meeting 
thee there, and could not give up the hope, until after the 
reception of thy letter by W. L. Garrison, too late to reply 
before the meeting closed. Of our doings, and many of 
our sayings, while in Boston, you are apprized. The op- 
position papers would fain make the people believe, that 
the speeches of a few ultraists were endorsed by the So- 

Charles Marriott went on with us from N. Y., and ex- 
pressed satisfaction in such m gs of the convention as he at- 
tended. He returned home a few days before we did. I 
suggested to him to ask Friends in N. Y. to give notice of 
my intention of being at their m s on Fourth-day. They 
refused to do so, on the plea of my having no minute ! 

What are we to think of G. F. W's offer of his resigna- 
tion of his right of membership to his Mo. M s , only the 
month previous to his obtaining a minute to go to Indiana ? 
It furnishes satisfactory evidence, that his mind and feel- 
ings have been in a morbid state for some time past. I re- 
joice that thou hast been so faithful in holding up to 



Rachel Hicks and others, the danger the Society is in. 
What a deplorable event it would be, to suffer the ravings 
of an insane mind to scatter us again to the four winds ! I 
can but hope better things. Tis true, a few ministers and 

others follow in his wake. lately came out 

in a very improper manner against temperance, abolition, 
and other societies, " and even phrem'ology." But he was 
so manifestly wrong, that it only tended to hurt himself. 
Our m gs have been much less in danger of being carried 
away by these false brethren, " who have come in to spy 
out the liberty we have in Christ Jesus," than they were a 
year ago. Each time we have been visited of late, the 
veil seems to be removed from the eyes of some. 

When wilt thou come and let us talk face to face on 
subjects of such general concernment ? This I think we 
might do with friendly feelings all around. We had a day 
of sweet enjoyment on our way home from Boston, with 
our loved cousins, Henry and Phebe P. Willis, John 
Ketchum, and others. 

Griffith M. Cooper is now in the city on his return from 
Washington. He is not afraid to speak his mind of the do- 
ings in N. Y., and he sees things clearly too. So tell thy 
dear Eliza not to be discouraged because of a dark and 
cloudy day ; it will but bring forth a refreshing shower, 
that shall re-animate our spiritual nature and lead us to 

"Bud, I hope, and shoot." 1 

I think she will be interested in the perusal of the accom- 
panying discourse by Dr. Channing, when last in our city. 
He made us several most interesting visits. 

I leave home to-morrow morning, for a long journey 
over the mountains to Centre Quar ly M g and Fishing Creek 
M g , by appointor* of the Yearly M g , and with a minute to 
appoint meetings. Catharine Truman is to bear me com- 
pany ; and Chalkley Gillingham, of N. Jersey, a new Min- 

1 From a quaint effusion by Thomas Ehvood. 



istcr, is also on the appointment. We shall probably be 
absent six weeks. 

Much company and many cares must be my apology for 
sending such a letter, 

Ever thy attached friend, L. Mott. 


Phila., ll tb mo. 28 th , 1841. 
... I hope thou wilt be able to get Theodore Parker's 
sermon. It is a beautiful production ; the sentiments so 
just, and yet so horrifying to orthodoxy. Ellis brought a 
review of it, which does Parker injustice, as all such pious 
notices do, by making him say what he has not said. 
Thomas Y. had read that, and afterwards one of Bishop 
Onderdonk's, which, he wrote Ellis, " had strengthened his 
convictions with reference to Apostolic usage -as binding 
on the present age." He says " In strong contrast, both 
with the style and arguments of our good bishop, is an 
ordination sermon preached in Boston by Theodore 
Parker ; a stranger production professing to be a sermon 
from a Christian pastor, I never perused. Denying every 
possible groundwork of Scripture and antiquity, yet full 
of rich poetic thought and beautiful imagery, it is a lam- 
entable exhibition of the absurdities which the human 
mind may believe, when it deserts Catholic principles." I 
should be glad to send thee his letter, a page or more in 
this strain, very well written, but betraying sentiments in 
my opinion so much darker than those he is reviewing ; for 
Parker is full of faith in the true groundwork of religion 
in all ages on which the truths of Scripture are based ; not 
on miracles, nor inexplicable creeds. But what lamentable 
absurdities those are involved in, who bind themselves to 
church theologies ! We hear nothing like reaction among 
Unitarians, though Ellis came home from Boston full of the 
idea. The truth is, that all orthodox sects have modified 
their faith or their creeds, with the advance of rational 



principles of religion ; and now that a large class of Unita- 
rians are moving forward and leaving the fathers of that 
reformation behind, these in their turn are raising the cry 
of "heresy," which dying orthodoxy seizes as a straw 
whereon it may rest its expiring hope. 


The following letters need no introductory re- 
marks. They follow those of the preceding chapter 
in chronological order. 

Phila., 2 nd mo. 25 th , 1842. 
My dear Richard and Hannah Webb, and our 
other dear friends in Dublin, — For when writing to any 
one of your precious circle, I feel as if I were addressing 
all, C. Corkran, inclusive, in the yearnings of undimin- 
ished affection. As the result of our travel abroad, noth- 
ing affords more unmingled pleasure, than the reception 
of some three or four sheets of Richard's " illegible writ- 
ing." The very difficulty we have in deciphering seems to 
heighten the gratification, for we know that when we have 
puzzled it out, we shall be paid for the effort. I wish Sa- 
rah Pugh w d copy for you what she wrote at the close of 
the last year. It was so expressive of my feelings. That 
the rapid flight of Time was placing our delightful visit in 
the more distant view — and, so on — a heap of pretty 
sentiments ; just what I felt, but had not the ability to write 

I should like to send you a copy of some playful lines, 
f written by our daughter Anna for her friend, Sarah A. Mc- 
Kim, as an "acknowledgment" to Friends for her offense 
in " marrying out of meeting." We can bear with evident 
satisfaction a little raillery at the expense of other sects, 
but few can bear to have their own made the subject of 
satire, or even pleasantry. Our veneration is trained to pay 
homage to ancient usage, rather than to truth, which is 



older than all. Else why church censure on marriages 
that are not of us ; on parent's conniving ; on our mem- 
bers being present at such, etc. ? Oh ! how our Discipline 
needs revising, and stripping of its objectionable features ! 
I know not how far yours may differ from ours ; but I know 
we have far too many disownable offenses. Still, with all 
our faults, I know of no religious association I would pre- 
fer to it. And I would rather hear of P. D. Webb, labor- 
ing very faithfully, and in all Christian daring, in his So- 
ciety, than withdrawing from it. I felt so with regard to 
Wm. Bassett, and hoped that his influence " within the pale,", 
might " turn many to righteousness." I have frequently no- 
ticed that persons who were once useful in our Society, after 
withdrawing from it become rather contracted, and selfish ; 
shut themselves out from society at large, and grow censo- 
rious. Their children also, having no rallying point as they 
grow older, follow their natural inclination for association, 
and .connect themselves with sects far behind the intelli- 
gence and light of their parents. These remarks may not 
apply to all. Wm. Lloyd Garrison never was attached to 
any sect. Sarah Pugh, from the time of the " separation " 
among us, never felt her interest enlisted on either side, but 
I have no fear of her talents rusting for want of use. 

It has been gratifying to see James Haughton's name so 
frequently in public meetings for the good of the people, 
and the spread of sound principles. His letter received 
last summer is valued by us, even though we have made no 
adequate return. I want to send him a heretical sermon, 
preached by Theodore Parker, in Boston, last year : the 
" Transient and Permanent in Christianity." It created a 
great stir in New England, and led some of the old Uni- 
tarians to tremble for their reputations as Christians. The 
Orthodox were out upon them in all quarters ; which led 
some of them to issue their disclaimers. Whereupon, the 
Evangelicals, catching at a straw, foresaw a strong counter- 
movement, and were cheered with the belief that "doc- 



trines, which of old were held, would begin to reassert 
their former claims ; and Truth, hallowed by time, and re- 
vered by Apostolic teaching, and holy, from its conformity 
to the blessed lessons of the Sou of God, would become, 
and remain, the only standard of the Christian life." Thus 
wrote my nephew, Thomas C. Yarnall, who is studying in 
college for the ministry in the Episcopal church. But to 
my understanding we shall not make much progress as 
Christians, until we dare read and examine the Jewish 
Scriptures, as we would any other of the ancient records. 
By what authority do we set so high a value on every 
text that may be drawn from this volume ? Certainly not 
by any command therein found. On the contrary, again 
and again, there is an appeal to the inner sense ; " Why 
even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right ?"..■* 

Parker's remarks on the Bible, in the Discourse above 
mentioned, I like very much : that its real and proper esti- 
mate will not be lessened by breaking through the idolatry 
which is now paid to it. I read its pages, I mean the 
Scriptures, over and over again with a keen relish, and en- 
courage our children to do the same ; but I cannot do, as 
we saw Friends in England and Ireland do — make the 
reading of that book a religious rite in the family, and 
adopt a peculiar tone and solemn style of pronunciation, 
— (all the " ed " terminations, full.) Let us venerate the 
good and the true, while we respect not prejudice and 

R. D. Webb thinks I am a humanitarian. I have never 
given my faith a name. The distinctions among Christian 
professors are found, on an analysis, to be but hair-breadth, 
and it is puzzling to bear in mmd the distinctive points in 
their creeds. We give a more orthodox hue to ours, by 
retaining some expressions which do not convey our real 
sentiments. I do not wonder that Richard asks, what we 
moan by our professions. If he should hear some of our 
preachers, he would understand us better. The hearers 



are often told, that they are not called to rest their hopes 
of salvation on the " sacrifice without the gates of Jerusa- 
lem." We never attempt to draw or define the precise re- 
lation to the Father. Nor is a Trinity acknowledged in our 
galleries. We rather urge obedience to " manifested duty," 
as the means of acceptance with the Searcher of Hearts. 
This is the old-fashioned Quaker doctrine ; " neither is there 
Salvation in any other." 

I have no doubt of the kindness and sincerity of the 
friend who warned you of the danger of association with 
some of us. Should she hear Richard say how loosely 
society attachments rest upon him, she would feel as if 
there was cause for her concern. He must be careful how 
he gives utterance to such sentiments. I have often felt 
the restraints, and seen the evils of which he speaks ; but 
after much consideration, I have come to the conclusion 
^ that the advantages of religious associations preponderate. 
f It requires constant watching and care that we yield no 
principle, but only concede minor points for the sake of 
/ unity. If the bearing of a faithful testimony to the Word, 
subjects us to excommunication, then let us seek another 
rallying point, for our children's $ake, as well as for the 
preservation of ourselves. 

You will see by the " A. S. Standard," how the N. York 
pseudo Quakers are conducting towards Isaac T. Hopper, 
James S. Gibbons, and Charles Marriott. I bear my tes- 
timony against their intolerance in every circle. In our 
Indian committee of four Yearly M gs united, C. Marriott has 
been a faithful and active member. In a meeting of that 
com. last week, I expressed the regret I felt, that he should 
be so unjustly deprived of his right to labor with us in that 
cause. Some present thought we should be careful how 
we judged another Monthly M g . I told them we did not 
hesitate, fifteen years ago, to judge of the persecuting spirit 
of our Orthodox opposers, and I viewed the treatment of 
these Friends in New York, in the same light. We were 



then struggling for freedom of opinion ; we are now claim- 
ing the right of practice in accordance with our convictions. 
I wish you could see a correspondence growing out of my 
going to Boston last autumn, to attend the Non-Resistance 
anniversary, and attending New York in s on my way home. 1 
The Elders and others there, have been quite desirous to 
make me an offender, for joining with those not in member- 
ship with us, and accepting offices in their societies. But 
our Friends here know full well that such a position is 
neither contrary to our Discipline, to Scripture, to reason, 
nor to common sense. I was permitted to answer for my- 
self, and found proof enough in the practice of Friends, 
from the days of Wm. Penn to the present, of such "mix- 
tures." They failed to bring action against me. . . . 

I want to tell you how Anne Knight, in a letter to Mar- 
garetta Forten, deplores my " heresy." She says, " Her 
forbearance of the wrongs encountered in the Fatherland 
would merit the term Christian, had she not so utterly dis- 
owned and insulted her Lord and Saviour. . . . Awfully 
as I regard this state of deep and hardened revolt, yet I do 
love Lucretia Mott for her work's sake. It was a joy to 
me to have the opportunity of offering those attentions 
which others neglected." ... I shall write to her soon, 
and try to convince her that, although I do not interpret 
the " sacred text " precisely as she does, I am not on that 
account entitled to all the hard names branded by a self- 
styled orthodoxy. She expresses a wish to have one of 
James' books, " Three Months in Great Britain," which I 
shall take great pleasure in sending her. I intend also to 
setid one to Eliz th Pease. She wrote a kind letter to us 
last summer, which we have not yet acknowledged. I 

1 A complaint was sent from an Elder of New York meeting, to an El- 
der of Philadelphia meeting, beginning with curious indirectness, "It is 
informed, that Lucretia Mott," etc. Instead of laying this before the 
meeting, as was expected by the writer, the one who received it took it di- 
rect to Lucretia Mott, that she might reply to it herself; this she did, 
with spirit. 



have little time to write, save a constant correspondence 
with my absent sister, and a very few others. I am trav- 
eling from home so much, that I have to be the more de- 
voted to my family and domestic avocations when here ; 
and until I do, as Richard approves in Sarah Pugh, 
" break off my attachment to our religious Society," I shall 
have frequent demands on my time and services in its be- 

You will see H. B. Stanton's name among the Third 
Party speakers in Boston. How sorry I am that he has 
joined them ! They might have had Colver, if we could 
have kept Stanton, and Whittier, and Theodore D. Weld. 
You will see in the " A. S. Standard " the Washington 
correspondence of the " New York American," signed R. 
M. T. H., giving an account of J. Q. Adams' defense. 
How bravely the veteran is acquitting himself ! It is sup- 
posed, and with some reason, that Theodore D. Weld is the 
writer of those letters. Our New-Organization abolition- 
ists are not idle. Let us give them credit for all the good 
they do. 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is at her father's. She writes 
to her friend, Eliz th J. Neall, that she has lately made her 
debut in public in a temperance speech, and was so elo- 
quent in her appeals as to affect not only her audience, but 
herself to tears. About one hundred men were present. 
She infused into her speech a homoeopathic dose of Wo- 
man's Rights, and does the same in many private conver- 
sations. In a letter to me, some time ago, she says, " The 
more I think on the present condition of woman, the more 
am I oppressed with the reality of her degradation. The 
laws of our country, how unjust are they ! our customs, 
how vicious ! What God has made sinful, both in man and 
woman, custom has made sinful in woman alone. In talking 
with many people, I have been struck with this fact." . . . 

I can readily imagine your brother James a fond father, 
from the little evidence I had of his affection in the conju- 



gal relation. I was pleased with his wife, and the addition 
since made to their family is all that seemed necessary in 
their beautiful abode to render their bliss complete. 

Oh ! that delightful day at the sea-side with some of 
you ! The walk up Killiney Hills, the prospect from the 
top, all, all are remembered with dear delight. When will 
you come here ? I cannot convey by expression how much 
I want to see you again. These dear familiar letters to 
Sarah Pugh, Abby Kimber, and ourselves, some of which 
are lying before me, bind you to our hearts as bosom 
friends. Another scene I remember, when Hannah walked 
with me, after one of the sessions of the Convention, and 
took me through part of Coven t Garden Market, which I 
had so oft read of as a child. Reaching your lodgings, 
your venerable father sat there, looking so grave, as if he 
had some misgivings as to the propriety of his juxtaposi- 
tion with heretics of the Hicksite order. I remember, too, 
his prudential silence when I ventured a little ultraism ; 
and the " Irish hospitality " with which we were enter- 
tained, — each one doing so much to minister to our hun- 
gry appetites. Again, when in your own social circle in 
Dublin, I presumed to read a part of what I had written 
home of your non-committal course in matters of theol- 
ogy, suggesting, as one reason, the fear of your orthodox 
leaders, the earnestness and openness of countenance with 
which your brother Thomas ejaculated, " / 'm not afraid,'" 
gave me a sensation of delight. If I forget these things, 
my memory will forget its office. 

It needs some to be " not afraid," in order to withstand 
the high-handed measures of the Quaker hierarchy. I 
doubt whether the domination of any sect is more arbi- 
trary. A handful of the distinct order in Rhode Island 
Yearly M s placed their veto on the opening of m g houses 
for the lectures of the abolitionists, and lo ! they are nearly 
all closed. Here, the young people are kept from the be- 
nevolent efforts of the day, as if there would be defilement 


in the touch ! I do not wonder that Richard Webb feels 
the evils of these sectarian organizations. Altho' I have 
written as I have on another page, I agree with him (" in 
the abstract ") that for those who are accustomed to re- 
flect and come to conclusions for themselves, they are un- 

When you have read the controversy between Paul and 
Amicus, we should like to have your opinion of the work. 
It was first published in a Wilmington paper. Paul was a 
Presbyterian minister by the name of Gilbert. Amicus 
was Benjamin Ferris. He told us that every answer to 
Paul was written after his family had retired for the night ; 
that frequently, when he went to put his effusions into the 
post office, it was daylight. He never submitted one of 
them to the criticism of his friends, and never had any ob- 
jection made to them. After the controversy was ended, 
the " Meeting for Sufferings " issued a kind of disclaimer 
of it — or protest against it — at the suggestion of Jona- 
than Evans, the Pope of that day, because it had not been 
submitted to their orthodox tribunal, previously to its pub- 
lication, " according to the good order " prescribed in the 
Discipline. This occurred about a year or two before the 
"separation," say, in 1823. Our Friends did not relish a 
reproof from that quarter. 

Not long after this, Fanny Wright, R. D. Owen, and 
some others of that school, were in Wilmington, and some 
of these liberal writers and their children went to hear 
them lecture on " Knowledge," " Education," etc. This 
alarmed Benj. Ferris and his party, and they came out with 
an " Expose of Modern Skepticism." Immediately another 
paper was issued by Benj. Webb. Whereupon, Dr. Gib- 
bons, B. Ferris, and others entered a complaint to the 
meeting, of their ultraism ; and five or six were disowned. 
They appealed in vain to our Yearly M s ; many thinking it 
were better these should suffer, than that our august body 
should be in any manner identified with the " infidel Owen- 



ites." The children of these persecuted brethren withdrew, 
and Wilmington meeting has had " Ichabod " on its walls, 
from that time to the present. These disowned members 
were among their most active, benevolent citizens, and 
have continued respected and beloved. Now, such arbitrary 
measures I detest. My husband and self came near " los- 
ing our place," by uttering our indignant protest against 
their intolerance. These are the evils of religious or sec- 
tarian organizations. We cry out against assumption of 
power and oppression. But no sooner do we successfully 
resist their influence than the same weapons are wielded 
by us against those who take one step in advance of our- 
selves. We can be mighty charitable to the poor weak- 
lings we consider behind us ; but let some one go on before! 
we are as ready to cry " stop," and to condemn, as were 
those at whose hands we suffered such abuse. Where is 
our confidence in the truth, that we are so fearful to meet 
error, without denunciation ? I never felt any special in- 
terest in Owen, or his followers, but desired to meet them 
in a Christian spirit, knowing they would not ultimately 
prevail, only as they were in the right. Our dear Eliz th 
Pease, and some others, quaked with fear, when Owen 
called on W. L. Garrison, and the other Americans, in 
London, lest it might give us a bad name ; but I regarded 
not such fears. How could a common observer of heads 
and countenances tremble for the influence of such a man ! 
The most successful refutation of his visionary scheme is 
to suffer him to be his own expositor. 

I have not yet told you of the pleasant visit we had from 
Lord Morpeth. We felt some hesitancy about calling on 
him, thinking he would not remember us. But in a letter 
from Dr. Channing to his son, who is passing the winter 
here, he expressed a hope that we would see him ; so we 
went to his lodgings, card in hand, reducing him to a com- 
mon man, on our Republican principles. He was not at 
home. He soon returned the call, made himself very 



agreeable, and accepted an invitation the day following, to 
breakfast with us. He came each time unattended, walk- 
ing, as any of our citizens would. We are pleased with 
the ease with which he accommodates himself to our Amer- 
ican and Quaker simplicity. We invited Eobert Purvis, 
Miller McKim, and a few other intelligent abolitionists to 
meet him here, and had a delightful time. He gives gen- 
eral satisfaction in passing through the country. His amia- 
ble disposition and manner are pleasing, though he is rather 
awkward at the graces. 

I began this long letter as dated. It is now Third month, 
7 th . I can only write a little each day, having many inter- 
ruptions. Another lion has just arrived in the city — 
Charles Dickens. Our children have a strong desire to see 
him. I, too, have liked the benevolent tendency of his 
writings, though I have read very little in them. I did not 
expect to seek an interview, or to invite him here, as he 
was not quite one of our sort. But just now, there was 
left at our door, his and his wife's card, with a kind letter 
from our dear friend, E. J. Reid, London, introducing 
them, and expressing a strong desire that we would make 
their acquaintance. There is not a woman in London, 
whose draft I would more gladly honor. So now we shall 
call on them, and our daughters are in high glee. I regret 
that in Boston and New York the people have been so ex- 
travagant in their reception of the man. 

Our dear Mary Grew has lived too far from us — quite 
in the lower part of the city — to meet with us often 
when our friends are with us. But there is a strong, bind- 
ing tie of affection with all our band of " rejected dele- 

We yesterday attended the funeral of James Forten. 
You will see an account of his death in the " A. S. Stand- 
ard," and an obituary written by Mary Grew. It was a 
real amalgamation funeral ; hundreds of white people, and 
thousands of colored. . . . 



But I must close this very long letter. With kindest 
remembrances to all the loved circle, 

I am yours most truly, Lucretia Mott. 


Phila., 10th mo. 8th, 1842. 

My dear Nathaniel, — We have thy two acceptable 
letters, with their accompaniments, and hardly know how 
to make adequate acknowledgment for all thy kindness to 
us. May a " full reward be given thee of the Lord God 
of Israel, under whose wings thou " hast long trusted ! and 
may we learn beneficence from thy example ! 

. . . The associations for reform in its various branches, 
and the opposition they have had to encounter, have awak- 
ened more interest and inquiry as to the advantages, or 
otherwise, of ecclesiastical establishments and church con- 
federacies, than has been elicited since the days of George 
Fox and his cotemporaries. Early in the Anti-Slavery en- 
terprise it was evident that woman would not rest satisfied 
in her priestly thraldom. One of the first resolutions of 
the Women's Convention 1 was, " that it is time for wo- 
man to act in the sphere which Providence had assigned 
her, and no longer to rest satisfied with the circumscribed 
limits in which corrupt custom and a perverted application 
of the Scriptures had encircled her." 

We ought not to marvel that the Washingtonians are so 
unprepared for intermingling with colored people. When 
we consider the prejudices under which they have grown 
up ; how little they have heard, or read, to remove those 
prejudices ; and how earnest were the appeals to us on this 
point, before ever our eyes were opened, we should be 
cautious of driving them too fast. There is yet a differ- 
ence of sentiment and feeling on this subject, even among 
abolitionists. Let us plead with such as are holding back, 
so that this beam may be removed out of our own eye. 
1 The National Convention of Anti-Slavery Women. 



To Priests and Levites, let us also be unsparing. How 
much good the stand thou took, has done ! I rejoice that 
you are so liberal as to give your colored brethren confi- 
dence to gather with you and sit where they list. Glad too 
that S. S. Foster was rec d by you, " not now as a fanatic, 
but as a brother beloved." Perhaps the disaffected, who 
have left you, may yet return. It has been so in some 
instances with those who left Wm. H. Furness' meeting, 
because of his plain preaching on the subject of slavery. 

We have no longer the presence of Dr. Channing; 
though his works will live forever and praise him. What 
a world's loss his death is ! How much in his memory that 
is precious and blessed ! We could seem to see how calmly 
his sun went down. How many of the great men of earth 
have been removed by death within a few years ! I shall 
ever rejoice that we had the privilege of friendship and 
close converse with Dr. Channing. Were you not glad 
that he came up to the full measure of abolitionism in his 
last address ? Dear H. G. Chapman's sufferings are at an 
end also ! I wrote to Maria two weeks since. We have 
yet spared to us honorable women not a few, and we have 
Garrison and many co-adjutors. So let us not despair. 

We have no prospect of attending the Non-Resistance 
Anniversary this year. I am glad thou expects to be 
there. The Free Produce Meeting will occupy us here. 
We are also to have a large Indian committee from the 
four Yearly M ss ; then comes Baltimore M s . I expect to 
ask for a minute, so as to be at liberty to appoint meetings. 
James will bear me company. We should be much pleased 
to have Eliza and thyself come on and go with us. Have 
you not such a prospect ? 

I must now close. Perhaps George Truman will write 
to thee of our going together to Haddonfield Quarterly 
M s , where we found G. F. W. ; and how he preached of 
Onesimus being sent back to Philemon ; and how I spake 
as if such an one were not present ! He, however, carried 



inany with liim. He has not been here of latter time. 
John Comly continues to preach against the reformatory 
movements of the day , and so does Edward Hicks some- 
times. . . . 

Wm. H. Furness preached of Dr. Channing to-day. I 
should have liked much to hear him, but, — sectarian pro- 
scription ! 

My dear love to our cousins, Tho s and Eunice Macy. 

Very affectionately, L. Mott. 


Phila., 11th mo. 25th, 1842. 
My dear friend, N. Barney, — Lucretia and self re- 
turned to our sweet and pleasant home on Fourth-day, 
23 rd , after an absence of nearly four weeks. Among the 
letters received while we were away was one from thee. 
On reading it L. said, " I don't know when I shall find 
time to write ; " so I have concluded to help her, although 
a very poor substitute, and give you, that is, thee and 
Eliza, and our other friends on Nantucket, some account of 
our journey in Maryland and Virginia. You know of our 
going to attend the Yearly M g in Baltimore, which proved 
to be more satisfactory than we had anticipated. Some 
friends in that city were fearful of abolition doctrine when 
they heard of L.'s prospect but they received us kindly, 
and when the m s was over, their fears were in great 
measure removed, and their prejudices abated. L. had two 
appointed m gs on First and Sixth-day evenings, both of 
which were large and quiet, and as far as we know, satis- 
factory. Some articles were published in the papers ap- 
proving what was said, and one editor made reports of the 

1 On their arrival in Baltimore, an influential Friend, one from whom 
kind treatment and sympathetic encouragement might have been ex- 
pected, said to Lucretia Mott: "Now, Lucretia, let us have no battle 
array." No reply was spoken, but the tender heart, so brave and reso- 
lute before its adversaries, so sensitive to friendly criticism, felt keenly 
this gratuitous thrust. 



sermons, which we saw after our return home. Yet we 
find a report here that we, or some other abolitionist, paid 
the editors to insert the laudatory paragraphs ! Lucretia 
having a minute to appoint some m ss , we concluded to at- 
tend those of Fairfax Quarter, which lie in Virginia. Ac- 
companied by Edwd. Needles, in carriage and horses fur- 
nished by his brother John Needles, (at whose house we had 
been kindly entertained, and who, with his lovely family, 
manifested sympathy and interest for us,) we left Baltimore 
and had seventeen m gs in eighteen days, besides attending 
the Quarterly M s at Alexandria, and traveling three hun- 
dred and fifty miles. Our m gs were all well attended, and 
some of them large ; at most, if not all, more or less slave- 
holders, were present, and heard their " peculiar institu- 
tion " spoken of plainly, and themselves rebuked for the 
robbery and wrong they were committing on their fellow- 
creatures. Our m gs , without any exception, were quiet and 
altogether respectful, and we were treated on all occasions 
with kindness and attention ; giving evidence to us that 
the fields are already white unto harvest for true Gospel 

Some elderly Friends were timid and fearful lest we 
might cause an excitement, and wanted the subject of slav- 
ery should be let alone as much as possible ; but the 
younger class of Friends, and the common people, and 
even many other professors, heard gladly and acknowledged 
the truth of what was said. On the whole, our visit has 
been satisfactory to us, and we believe to most of the 
visited ; and we have abundant cause to be encouraged in 
the promulgation of truth and sound principles. We had 
some opportunity of conversation with slave-holders and 
their apologists, and are still further confirmed in the opin- 
ion, that the slave-holder is more open to reason and con- 
viction, than many, who are u as much opposed to slavery 

as any one, but ." The slave-holders, or many of 

them, will bear to hear the truth spoken in the love of the 



Gospel, and in this love plain things may be said, and will 
bring an acknowledgment of their truth; of this we had 
full evidence. 

I have thus given you a long account of a short visit, and 
now leave L. to make such comments on it as she may 
wish. One other matter I intended to mention. The 
Yearly M s . issued an address on the subject of slavery ; 
much of it good and just ; but some of it very objection- 
able, as respects the associations of anti - slavery people. 
Against this I bore my testimony in the m s , and, with one 
exception, was the only person who attempted to expose 
the error and wrong that was done. Afterwards a num- 
ber expressed to me their dissatisfaction with the docu- 
ment, and unity with what I had said, but they had not 
had the courage to express it. My remarks called out 
many voices in favor of the document. I doubt whether 
any of them knew whereof they affirmed. In relation to 
the movements and principles of abolitionists, we found 
even among Friends much ignorance, and more prejudice ; 
a little of which I hope has been abated. 


2nd mo., 14th, 1843. 

Here this letter has lain, nearly three mo s , waiting for 
me to fill and send it, while I have delayed from time to 
time. My health has not been very good since my return, 
and writing has been rather a dread to me. Some parts of 
the above will be old and stale, if indeed it was necessary 
to be so minute about my little fulfilments of duty. It 
needs care that we do not magnify our missions of love. 

As so much is told, I may as well complete the narrative 
by informing you that I was not easy to return my minute, 
without going again to Washington, and seeking an inter- 
view with those in power, and the representatives of this 
boastful nation. We applied for the Hall of Congress, but 
that being granted on condition of silence on slavery, we 



of course could not accept it. The Unitarian house proved 

a far better place, and was crowded to excess, — many 
members of Congress present — all quiet and respectful. 
I have rec d a letter from Dr. Macauly, who was present, 
requesting my views, as there expressed, on woman's du- 
ties and responsibilities. I have written him at length. 
Some other notes and letters have been sent us, expressive 
" of unity. We marveled that the people, both there and in 
Virginia, were so open to hear the truth on the subject of 
slavery. We called on Pres. Tyler. I told him " a part 
of my mission was to interest those in power on the sub- 
ject of emancipation." He professed some interest in the 
subject, but thought the blacks should be colonized. James 
told him that the South could not do without them, and he 
thought they should be left free to choose their location, as 
other people were. He asked if we would be willing to 
have them at the North. I replied, "Yes — as many as 
incline to come, but most of them would prefer to remain 
on the plantations, and work for wages." He spoke of the 
discussions of the subject years ago in Virginia, " but the 
Missouri question and other agitations had put the cause 
back." I hoped it was not too late to resume it. He 
liked the way Friends treated the subject; he had lately 
read the address from Baltimore, and liked it. I did not, — 
it was calculated to set the slave-holder's conscience too 
much at ease, — it made more apology for him, than he 
could make for himself. He replied, " I should like to 
hand Mr. Calhoun over to you." On our coming away, he 
wished me success in my benevolent enterprises. 

We called on John Quincy Adams, who seemed much 
discouraged that anything would be effected this Congress, 
or the next, on the subject of slavery. The message of 
the new governor of N. Y. had " made his blood boil with 
indignation." Our hopes of success must not rest on those 
in power, but on the common people, whose servants they 
are. These hear truth gladly, when free access is obtained 



to their unprejudiced hearts. I ever have hope of a meet- 
ing made up of such. 

We seem in rather a tame state in our own Meeting. 
Nothing very exciting since Rachel Hicks' visit, save some 
remarks from Nicholas Brown, in the men's M ff , charging 
the abolitionists with having been the means of making the 
situation of the col d people worse in Richmond, where he 
and Marg*. had been. He made some false statements, 
which were corrected by Dan 1 . Neall, Geo. Truman, and 
others. He was afterwards reproved for his speech by one 
of our overseers. 

I have lately read M. W. Chapman's " Ten Years of Ex- 
perience," or Ninth Annual Report, with much interest, 
as I do everything from her pen. I like what she says on 
associations ; for, if properly conducted, they need not 
destroy individuality. Are our sectarian associations thus 
conducted ? I am more and more persuaded that they en- 
croach far too much on individual rights, and infringe the 
freedom of the Gospel. 

George Truman has been called out lately to defend the 
abolitionists in public and private. He was a near sympa- 
thizer with me during Bait 6 Yearly M g ; when Friends 
there were so filled with fears and cautions, that they 
would have been glad to forbid the subject of slavery. 

Have you seen the memorial to the Maryland legislature 
from the " Balt e M s for Sufferings " ? It seems very much 
as if it was to redeem their character after that slanderous 
" document " from their Yearly M s . I doubt not it has 
been drawn from them by abolitionists. There is consid- 
erable good anti-slavery feeling in that Yearly M s , if they 
only dare speak out. That " document " was " a lie." There 
was no exercise in that meeting corresponding with the ex- 
pressions and assertions contained in it. All that had been 
expressed was of an anti-slavery character. Samuel Jan- 
ney had made a good speech, which James says would have 
graced any of our anti - slavery papers. A sham commit- 


tee was appointed " to define the position of the Society on 
the subject." In the committee this " document " was im- 
mediately produced, having been prepared two or three 
weeks before, and, with one reading, passed ; some ob- 
jections were made, which were silenced. We have since 
heard that it was submitted to John Comly and others, two 
weeks before the meeting. These things are calculated to 
sever the bond of union in our Soc y , and already this is the 
case to some extent in Indiana. 

I was pleased to find by thy letter some months back, 
that thy practice and thy preaching were such as to de- 
velop the real character of some of your " worshippers " ; 
for, as thou says. " we have but to do right, and let conse- 
quences take care of themselves." If there were more 
of this confidence and less practical infidelity, we should 
see greater results from our labors than have yet marked 

With continued affection, thy friend, 

L. Mott. 


Philada., 2nd mo. 18th, 1843. 

My much esteemed Friend, F. W. Holland, — I 
ought earlier to have acknowledged thy attention in send- 
ing me the sensible extracts from Geo. Ripley's, and Geo. 
Putnam's sermons. If we would only put in practice the 
abundance of good we hear spoken, as well as that mani- 
fested to our inner sense, we should be instrumental in re- 
moving " foul and hideous corruptions of the age." Since 
enjoying the privilege of social intercourse with thee last 
summer, I have often desired that thy gentle spirit might 
be aroused to " preach forcibly and earnestly," and " rebuke 
faithfully" the crying abominations of this age, and of 
our country. 

The minister of Christ's Gospel must not let the fear of 
consequences outweigh or blunt his sense of duty. The 



path of duty will ever eventually be found to be the high- 
est expediency. Wm, H. Furness was threatened for a 
time with loss to his church, in consequence of his bold- 
ness for truth and the right ; but some of the absentees are 
returning to him, and those who remained are enlightened 
by his faithfulness. 

What would not the world have lost, had Dr. Channing 
been deterred from " declaring the whole counsel of God," 
lest the people would not hear it ! Now, " although dead, 
he yet speaketh," and truth, thus spoken, " will draw all 
men unto it." 

I was glad to hear of thy return to Nantucket. 
With best wishes, thy friend, 


The following extract from a letter to a friend 
must not mislead the reader into thinking it a criti- 
cism of the Hutchinson family, for James and Lucre- 
tia Mott held them in the high esteem they deserved. 
It is given as an indication of the influence exerted 
even over independent minds by the traditions of 
the Society of Friends, in whose Discipline " stage 
plays, horse races, music, and dancing," are held to 
be " vain sports and pastimes," unfit for those whose 
" time passeth swiftly away," and whose " delight is 
in the law of the Lord: " — 

4th mo. 4th, 1843. 

. . . The anti-slavery meeting in New York we fear 
will be small this year, owing to a general scarcity of 
money. It will be important, as there is a change contem- 
plated in the " Standard." We are sorry to hear that the 
Hutchinson family of singers is expected to be there. 

We have enough of interest in rational appeals at our 
A. S. Convention, — enough on the high ground of princi- 
ple, — without descending to mere excitement to carry on 



the work. Some of us feel unwilling to give additional 
cause of censure to our opposing Quakers, and would far 
rather have music confined to those who wish for its beau- 
tiful, harmonious, and evanescent influence. Still, to stay 
away, or to withdraw on that account, would look like the 
" New-Organization's " deserting us because of woman's 
thrusting herself in. So we shall go. . . . 

Lucretia Mott was so often obliged by circum- 
stances to contend with those in authority, that in 
minor points it was a relief to conform as far as pos- 
sible to the requirements of the Society. 

In after days her feeling about music changed, and 
although she never quite approved of its use in a sol- 
emn gathering, as being frivolous, she did not oppose 
others who wished it, and ceased to regard it as ob- 
jectionable in itself. During the latter thirty years 
of her life, her grandchildren's piano stood in her 
parlor, and none enjoyed more than she, the simple 
melodies played upon it. Her favorites were " John 
Brown," « Dixie," and " Old Folks at Home." 
When we were sometimes moved to smile at her 
vain attempts to hum one of these, she would notice 
our amusement, and, sharing it, say, "My mother 
used to say to me, when I tried to sing, ' Oh, Lucre- 
tia, if thee was as far out of town as thee is out of 
tune, thee would n't get home to-night. ' " 

The year before she died, when she was obliged to 
give up her life-long habit of early rising, and to 
spend weary hours in bed, she used to get a sweet- 
voiced little great-grandson to sing to her every 
morning, while he was dressing in the next room. 
The song was always " Old Folks at Home," over 
and over again. Then the little fellow would be 
called to her bedside to receive the penny that she 
had ready for him under her pillow. 



As has been stated before, " Friends " did not ap- 
prove of Lucretia Mott's participation in Anti-Slavery 
Fairs. She, however, recognizing in them a means to 
replenish the continually exhausted treasury of the 
Anti-Slavery Society, continued to take an active in- 
terest in them. They were held annually, just before 
Christmas time. One year, when the regular donation 
from Boston and England came too late to be avail- 
able, she offered her parlors as a place for their sale. 
This reprehensible innovation gave great offense, and 
caused much serious consultation among Friends. 

Some went so far as to visit her and remonstrate 
on so light-minded a proceeding; and particularly 
on the vanity of her having allowed engravings of 
herself to be included in the sale. 

Towards most she maintained a dignified silence 
as to her reasons ; but she wrote the following ex- 
planation to a much respected friend, who desired to 
know the real circumstances of the case. 

It tells a curious story of the petty fault-finding of 
a narrow sectarianism. 

Philadelphia, 3rd mo. 13th, 1843. 
My dear Friend, Cyrus Pierce, — In compliance 
with thy request, I will endeavor to give thee a true state- 
ment of the circumstances, which thou says have been re- 
ported to my disadvantage. Not that I expect to satisfy 
those who are disposed to believe otherwise. For years 
past I have considered time poorly spent in trying to dis- 
abuse such minds, and have not taken a step to correct any 
report which a detracting spirit may have spread. But for 
thy sake I will so far deviate from my wonted course as to 
say : — as regards the sale of articles at our house, the 
generous gift of some of our English abolitionists, they 
did not come to hand until after our annual sale, or Fair, 
and being sent particularly to me, I concluded best to open 


and expose them for sale in our house. An invoice accom- 
panied them, valuing them at $400. They were princi- 
pally useful articles of clothing ; some beautiful drawings 
and paintings ; and the remainder, fancy articles. Among 
the latter were some pressed flowers taken from Melrose 
Abbey, and from the grave of Elizabeth Heyrick, the well 
known author of " Immediate, not Gradual Abolition." 
This work indirectly wrought conviction in the British Par- 
liament, which resulted in the emancipation of 800,000 
West India bonds-men. These flowers were stitched to a 
card, on which were inscribed some appropriate lines. 
They were sold at twenty-five cents each ; also, at the same 
price, some rulers made from a tree, under which George 
Fox had preached. About six or seven dollars were real- 
ized from these things. Our daughters, with one or two 
of their friends, had charge of them, and attended to the 
sale, as I was ignorant of their value, and did not feel dis- 
posed to attend to it, while I had not the least objection 
to their doing so. They sold to the amount of about $150. 
The remainder of the articles were kept till the next an- 
nual Fair. 

Of the good that has been accomplished by these and 
other efforts on behalf of the stricken and suffering slave, 
let an awakened conscience, a growing public sentiment in 
favor of emancipation, and the thousands of liberated fugi- 
tives in Canada, testify. The effect on the young, of de- 
voting part of their time to such objects, I have seen to be 

As our friend Nathaniel Barney has said, " Some who 
can employ a leisure, and perhaps otherwise an idle hour, 
are now interested to elaborate some beautiful needlework 
or otherwise, and in this way their latent feelings are awak- 
ened, and I have no doubt this may be a means of exciting 
inquiry, and finally begetting an abiding interest in the 
great work of human freedom. I therefore feel it right to 
do a trifle in aid of it." 



Thou mentioned a report of some buttons being sold 
from a great man's coat. I know of no such sale, and pre- 
sume none ever took place. When in England, a pecul- 
iar kind of button, worn by O'Connell and otheis, as a 
badge of a society to which they belonged, was given to 
two or three of our American friends. I never heard of 
their selling them, or setting a very high value on them. 
There has always been special care in our anti-slavery sales 
not to have an exorbitant price affixed to the goods. 

As respects the engraving or likeness, thou may inform 
thy friends, that I had nothing to do, either with the exe- 
cution, sale, or profit of it. It was done when I was ab- 
sent from home. I have never disposed of them in any 
way, either by present, or sale. Nor was I acquainted 
with the fact of any being taken into the country to be 
sold. As far as I was consulted, I tried to discourage the 
exhibition of them. Still I view it as a harmless indul- 
gence, and cannot pass censure on those who preserve an 
image of their friends. Thus thou wilt see, " how great 
a matter a little fire kindleth." If any of thy friends are 
really desirous of having the above explanation, I hope it 
may prove satisfactory. 

Thornton Walton called on me two or three weeks since, 
supposing I had heard of his expressing his sentiments 
rather warmly in reference to the sale alluded to. I had 
not heard a word of his saying ; and after explaining to 
him, as I have now done in the fore part of this letter, he 
went away, apparently satisfied, or expressing nothing to 
the contrary, and I am sure I entertain no other than kind 
feelings toward him, or any other of our Byberry friends. 
To thee and thine, my most affectionate regards, 


While some of this censorship was very annoying, 
it also had its amusing side ; particularly to one who 
bad so keen a sense of the ludicrous as Lucretia 
Mott. It perhaps might not have been so entertain- 


ing to her self-constituted spiritual guardians, as it 
was to her family, to hear her account of their visits 
and their criticism ; but it was fortunate for her en- 
durance, that she could receive such undesirable at- 
tentions with amusement, rather than irritation. 

On one occasion, one of the Elders of the meeting, 
who was quite friendly to her, though not in entire 
unity, called to see her, and during the conversation, 
said, " My dear, I was not at meeting last First-day 
morning, and did not hear thy discourse myself, but 
I thought it best to come tell thee that Friends are 
much troubled with some things thou said. I have 
been told that thou called the Bible 4 a blood rusty 
key.' I am very sorry thou wilt say such things." 

Lucretia Mott could scarcely maintain her gravity, 
but wishing to spare the feelings of her kind-hearted, 
but ignorant friend, she replied seriously, that she 
had only quoted some lines from a poem called the 
" Crisis," written by James Russell Lowell : — 

" Nor attempt the future's portals 
With the past's blood-rusted key," 

but had not made any application of them to the 

Soon after this, James Mott writes : — 

12th mo. 14th, 1843. 
. . . An impulse has been given to the pro-slavery 
spirit amongst us, that may not be allayed, until some of 
us are crucified. But we must endeavor to bear all, and 
hope for the best. Some hard things have been said about 
one who is dearer to me than life ; but she heeds them 
not, nor turns aside from her onward path of duty and la- 
bor. I have felt sad, but not disheartened, trusting that in 
the end the evil will be overruled by good. 

There is neither date nor address to the following 



letter. It was written to Nathaniel Barney, of Nan- 
tucket, some time in 1843, probably soon after the 
Yearly Meeting in the Fifth month. 

The Friend, Rachel Barker, of whom it speaks, 
was attending the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia, 
in company with a Minister from her own meeting 
in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. At that time she occupied a 
conspicuous place in the Society. She was facile in 
the use of language, and frequently became remark- 
ably eloquent. The deep feeling and pathos that 
characterized her ministry enlisted the sympathy and 
commanded the admiration of many hearers. 

In the beginning of the agitation concerning the 
abolition of slavery, she took a zealous and active 
part in opposition to those Friends who cooperated 
with the anti-slavery movement. Her zeal in this 
is shown by Lucretia Mott's account of what oc- 
curred in the Yearly Meeting. Later, as the cause 
of Emancipation advanced, and after the death of 
some of her most ardent colleagues, her views changed, 
and she became an active supporter of the very prin- 
ciples she had formerly denounced. 

. . . Rachel Barker was very bold in her opposition to 
the reformatory movements of the day, at our Yearly Meet- 
ing in Philadelphia. She again and again called the young 
people from the " mixtures, the whirlwind, and the storm," 
but did not in plain terms name abolition, until after I had 
made some remarks on that subject, when her real meaning 
was no longer disguised. 

Such severity of language I have not heard from woman, 
since Ann Jones so eloquently denounced us at the time of 
the " Separation." She was united with by very few, and 
lost ground with many. Some of her advice was incorpo- 
rated into our Epistles, which gave me another opportunity 


to speak, and I felt that I was " set for the defense of the 
Gospel." I did not spare her, stranger though she was. 
Every stale objection she urged, such as, " Why don't you 
go to the South ? " I was " favored " to meet, as if I had 
taken notes. She contrasted the present movements with 
those of our early Friends. I could refer to the agitation 
they produced, their voluminous controversial writings, and 
their appeals to and remonstrances with their government. 
She asked, " Did they go about forming societies ? " " Yes," 
I answered, " the most complete organization, which had 
been continued to the present time, down to our Prepara- 
tive m gs ." She spoke of the premature births in these 
movements, carrying out her figure, by describing the fee- 
bleness and withered growth of such productions. I ap- 
pealed to the audience whether the child — yea, the strong 
man Temperance, gave such evidence. Was it not, rather, 
healthy and vigorous for action ? Had we not partaken of 
its healthful influence ? Where were the decanters which 
a few years ago were found on our side-boards ? Where 
the beer and cider on which we regaled ; referring in this 
connection to the labors of Father Matthew abroad, and 
to the stirring eloquence of the reformed inebriate at 
home. Neither was Anti - Slavery the sickly child that 
had been presented to them. We could not suppose that 
our friend, who had acknowledged, that after reading one 
or two of our papers some years ago, she had banished 
them from her house, could be other than ignorant of the 
progress of our cause. I endeavored to show how much 
there was to encourage us to persevere, and that true 
sympathy for the slave-holder would forbid our relax- 
ing a single effort. She charged us with traducing the 
character of the slave-holder ; this I denied, and returned 
the charge of traducing those who were pleading for the 
slave. She compared us to " children in the market- 
place," adding, " this constant piping and harping has be- 
come wearisome." I treated that taunt as an indignant 



spirit prompted. The word " down-trodden " in our Epis- 
tles was objected to as " hackneyed." I said I would agree 
to a substitute for the offensive word, if one could be 
found in the English language strong enough to express 
the horrible condition of the slave. She denounced the 
" hired agents," and the repeated cry of " Give, give." As 
a member of the Indian committee, I could speak with 
knowledge of the sums raised and expended from year to 
year in that cause, for the traveling expenses of agents, 
(Benj. Ferris had presented a long bill,) and of one item of 
charge for an agent, employed to procure signers to a peti- 
tion to Congress. Where was the consistency of those who 
approved of this, and then censured similar action on be- 
half of a class whose wrongs and cruelties were seven- 
fold ! Again, I pointed to the fact, that we made a col- 
lection yearly in the women's m g , to supply the wants of 
those who were traveling to promote truth and righteous- 
ness in our Soc 7 . Where was the difference ? She made 
abundant use of Scripture — telling how Saul went forth, 
and what was David's armor ; how Sampson was deprived 
of his strength, his eyes put out, and he kept grinding 
in the prison - house, invidiously applying the same. I 
thought we had suffered enough, in days so recently passed, 
from an ingenious perversion of Scripture, in order to de- 
nounce such as differed in sentiment, and recommended a 
better use of the volume. She claimed the highest author- 
ity ; never had a stronger evidence of Divine direction, than 
in what she was then called to say ; she knew not when she 
left home what her state was, and was ready to inquire why 

; she was sent. This was said with emotion — affecting 
some of her audience to tears. She could now give her 

( back to the srniter, and was willing to face the cannon's 
mouth. I said I would be cautious of such assumption, 

j rather preferring that what might be said should carry its 

! evidence ; but in reply to that stale inquiry, " Why don't 
you go to the South ? " she might be informed that some of 



us had not hesitated to do this when duty bade, aDd had 
faced the violence of the mob — yes, and had appeased 
their wrath, and opened the way for repeated visits, when 
their legislative body had listened with patience to appeals 
on behalf of the slave. Objections had been made to the 
anti-slavery and temperance m ss being opened with formal 
prayer by hireling ministers ; I would inform those who 
had honest fears lest this testimony should be overlooked, 
that Friends had stood their ground in this particular, often 
giving their reasons, and the result was, that these formal 
openings of our meetings had been mostly discontinued, 
where Friends formed a part ; and that at a late non-re- 
sistance m g , which it was my privilege to attend in Puritan 
New England, oral prayer was not once offered ; giving 
evidence that the " union with others " which was thus con- 
demned had done more than any labors of Friends in our 
day, for the spread of our principles and testimonies, the 
advocacy of which was not confined, I was rejoiced to say, 
to our religious Society. I concluded by an appeal to the 
meeting for renewed life and action. We occupied each 
an hour that morning, and perhaps half an hour each, at 
different times before. She afterward called at our house 
and we talked further on the subject, but not any more sat- 
isfactorily. Our conversation has been much misrepre- 


Active disturbers of the comfortable peace of 
society cannot expect to escape calumny and re- 
proach, nor was Lucretia Mott an exception to this. 
Harsh criticism and undignified epithets were em- 
ployed to express disapproval of what was commonly 
called " going out of woman's sphere," a phrase trite 
and tiresome, and, in this instance, strikingly misap- 
plied.- For, notwithstanding her wide interests, her 
participation in many philanthropic societies, and her 
prominent position among Friends, she yet never 
neglected the duties of domestic life. Could those 
who were so ready to denounce, have looked into her 
household, have seen the well-ordered economy, the 
happy system of cooperation that pervaded its ar- 
rangements, derision would have been changed to ad- 
miration. She was an early riser and an indefatiga- 
ble worker, never sparing herself. It was one of her 
rules to be willing to do herself any work that she 
required of another. One secret of her accomplish- 
ing so much, was her power of discriminating be- 
tween the necessary and the unnecessary duties of 
housekeeping. The essentials were always attended 
to, but the non-essentials — the self-imposed labors 
under which so many women struggle — were left to 
look after themselves. She said of herself, " Being 
fond of reading, I omitted much unnecessary stitch- 
ing and ornamental work in the sewing for my fam- 


ily, so that I might have more time for this indul- 
gence, and for the improvement of the mind. For 
novels and light reading, I never had much taste. 
The 4 Ladies' Department,' in the periodicals of the 
day, had no attraction for me." She never could 
understand what others found to enjoy in "purely 
imaginary" books; but for the kind that attracted 
her she saved many a minute by this omission of 
" unnecessary stitching." 

It was before the day of sewing-machines, and 
seamstresses were a luxury not lightly indulged in, 
by families of restricted means ; the sewing, there- 
fore, devolved mainly on the mothers, with such 
help as the children could give. Lucretia Mott's 
daughters were brought up in accordance with Nan- 
tucket ideas, and were very early taught their share 
of the family work and the family sewing. As little 
girls, each had her "sampler," and her daily stint of 
overseaming or hemming ; advanced to the dignity 
of ten years, they were allowed the privilege of help- 
ing with their father's shirts, or of attempting gar- 
ments for their own wear ; and by the time they had 
families of their own, they were versed in all the in- 
tricacies of cutting and making. It was the day — 
long passed and almost forgotten — of early dinners 
and long afternoons, when custom sanctioned sewing 
in the parlor, and women liked to sit at the front 
windows, work in hand ; when mothers and daugh- 
ters sat together during these pleasant hours, each 
busily occupied ; when visitors, — very different from 
that modern interruption, known as callers, — 
"dropped in" to join the industrious group, bring- 
ing their "work" with them; when the family sew- 
ing became an occasion for lively social intercourse. 



It was the happy day when home life was in fashion. 
Lucretia Mott, so far from neglecting her private for 
her public duties, actually led a more domestic life 
than the majority of women of the present day. 
From youth to old age, she always cut and made her 
own clothes, and I believe never varied the style of 
her dress. It was old fashioned and simple, sweet 
and becoming. Though she neither advised others 
to adopt it, nor felt that there was any principle in- 
volved in the peculiar cut, beyond that of simplicity 
and moderation, she preferred to adhere to it, rather 
than make any modification ; but she never carried 
this feeling so far as to attach much importance to 
it. On the contrary, her liberality sometimes led her 
to wear articles presented to her, which she never 
would have chosen for herself. She was once given 
a shoulder-shawl of white Canton crape, bordered 
with a pretty knotted fringe some four inches deep. 
It was wholly un- Quakerlike in its appearance, but, 
pleased with the kindness of the giver and loth to 
wound his feelings, she put it on, and wore it for 
several days, braving the comments it excited. One 
morning, however, she came down to breakfast with 
the shawl shorn of its pretty fringe, as far as the 
last row of knots ! This still remained, jagged and 
uneven, and anything but ornamental, but she said 
it seemed such a pity to cut the whole off, that she 
had left one row ! She laughed, and we all laughed, 
but she was content. After this victory of old, in- 
herited prejudice, the shawl was worn without the 
smallest regard to its mutilated appearance, until 
finally, after good service, it was given to a grand- 
child as a keepsake. 

As was incumbent on the housekeepers of that 



period, she was an excellent cook, and rather prided 
herself on this accomplishment, the more, perhaps, 
because she was publicly admired for very different 
qualifications, and criticised for her supposed failure 
in the more common feminine avocations. She en- 
joyed a little display of her culinary powers. In the 
early autumn of 1841, she noticed in the house- 
keeper's column of the " United States Gazette," 
then the leading newspaper in Philadelphia, a re- 
ceipt for " corn pudding," followed by these satirical 
remarks ; " The half-cooked corn and the melted 
butter must be glorious stimulants to a dyspeptic 
stomach." This could not be passed silently — for 
corn pudding, properly made, was a dish held in high 
repute by all good people of Nantucket origin, and 
besides, her receipt was a better one. She therefore 
wrote this out, and sent it to the editor, Joseph R. 
Chandler, accompanied by a pudding of her own 
make. The following answer was returned : — 

" Mr. Chandler, in acknowledging the receipt of the 
corn pudding from Mrs. Lucretia Mott, is compelled to 
confess his error in regard to the wholesomeness of such 
a combination of ingredients. Mr. Chandler, as well as 
many others, has learned that much (moral as well as phys- 
ical) which seemed repulsive, or at least of doubtful benefit 
in itself, has, when presented by Mrs. Mott, been found pal- 
atable and nutritious. It is* the gift of thousands to collect 
with industry and care, but of few, very few indeed, to com- 
bine with judgment, and present with delicacy and grace.' , 

In view of the frequent aspersions cast on her do- 
mestic life, and as it is so little known, compared to 
her public career, it seems worth while to insert here 
the following lines, written about this time by her 
eldest daughter Anna, who, in 1833, had married 



Edward Hopper (eldest son of Isaac T. Hopper, of 
New York), and now, with her husband and little 
daughter, — the " dear little Lu " of the verses, — 
made part of the happy family circle. Maria, the 
second daughter, is not named in them, because she 
was no longer an inmate of the household, having 
married Edward M. Davis, in 1836, and gone to 
housekeeping at a short distance from her parents. 
It is needless to say that the verses were meant only 
for private entertainment : — 




Our grandmama shall stately sit, 
And, as it suits her, sew or knit ; 
Make her own bed, one for our mother, 
And also one for Tom, our brother ; 
And when our aunts and cousins call, 
" Do the agreeable " for all — 
And sundry little matters tell, 
In style that has no parallel. 

Our father, daily at his store 
His work shall do, and when 't is o'er, 
Return — behind him casting care ; 
And, seated in his rocking chair, 
With slippers on, and lamp in hand, 
Will read the news from every land. 
Then quietly will take a book, 
From which he '11 sometimes slyly look, 
And list to what the young folks say, 
Or haply join them in their play. 

Our mother's charge (when she 's at home) 
Shall be bath, store, and dining-room ; 
Morning and night she '11 wash the delf , 
And place it neatly on the shelf ; 


To her own room she will attend, 
And all the stockings she will mend — 
Assist the girls on washing day, 
And put the ironed clothes away ; 
And have a general oversight 
Of things, to see that all goes right. 

Twice every week shall Edward go, 

Through sun and rain, through frost and snow, 

And, what the market can afford, 

Bring home to grace our festive board ; 

Shall bring in coal the fire to cover, 

And go to bed when that is over. 

Anna the lamps shall daily fill, 
And wash the tumblers, if she will ; 
Shall sweep her room, and make beds two, 
One for herself, and one for Lu' — 
Make starch, and starch the ruffles, caps, 
Collars and shirts, and other traps ; 
Sweep all the entries and the stairs, 
And, added to these trifling cares, 
Shall, as our mother sometimes goes 
On little journeys — so she does — 
Assume her duties, and shall try 
If she cannot her place supply. 

Thomas shall close the house at night, 
And see that all is safe and tight : 
When snow falls, paths make in the yard — 
He cannot call that labor hard ; 
"Wait on the girls whene'er they go 
To lectures, unless other beau 
Should chance his services to proffer, 
And they should choose t' accept the offer. 

Our cousin and our sister Lizzie 
Shall part of every day be busy ; 
Their own room they shall put in trim, 
And keep our brother's neat for him ; 
The parlors they must take in care, 
And keep all things in order there ; 
Must sweep and dust, and wash the glasses, 
But leave for Anne all the brasses ; 
On wash-day set the dinner table, 



And help fold clothes where'er they 're able ; 

Shall lend their aid in ironing too, 

And aught else they incline to do. 

And then, when they have done their share 

Of work, if they have time to spare, 

Assist their cousin A. C. T., 

Till she 's their cousin A. C. B. 

Dear little Lu' shall be the runner. 
Because our Patty — blessings on her ! 
To boarding-school has gone away, 
Until bright spring returns, to stay. 
Her tireless kindness won each heart, 
And we were grieved with her to part ; 
But in this thought found ease from pain, 
That our great loss was her great gain. 

Sarah shall in the kitchen be, 
Preparing breakfast, dinner, tea ; 
And keeping free from dust the closets, 
Where flour, etcetera, she deposits. 

Anne shall on the table wait, 
Attend the door, see to the gate, 
Clean the front steps and pavement too, 
And many other things she '11 do ; 
That all may in such order be, 
As each one of us likes to see. 
Thus all their duty may fulfill ; 
And, if 't is done with cheerful will, 
A sure reward to us will come, 
In sharing a most happy home. 

" Sarah " and " Anne " were the two excellent 
colored servants, who lived many years in the family. 
Lucretia Mott had learned from her mother how to 
treat servants so as to insure contentment and faith- 
fulness. Grandmother Coffin used to say, " I make 
it a rule never to ask them to do what I know they 
will not do." Perhaps she, in turn, had profited by 
the shrewdness of old 44 black Amy," who lived so 
long with her mother, our " Grandmother Folger." 




Black Amy said she " did n't like to be told to do 
what she was just going to do." 

It was my grandmother's habit, not only in these 
early days, when a large family made assistance in 
household work necessary, but all through her life, 
until bodily weakness prevented, to help clear the 
breakfast-table, and wash the silver, china, and glass 
belonging in the dining-room. She always liked to 
do this, and very reluctantly gave it up when she 
was obliged to. The daughters generally helped ; 
and if guests were staying in the house, as was often 
the case, they sat near to join in the conversation, 
and sometimes to help in the work. It was not a 
disagreeable task ; the well-scrubbed little cedar tub, 
with its steaming water, was placed at one end of the 
table, and article after article was washed and bur- 
nished in a systematic manner from which no devia- 
tions were permitted. It was a choice time of the 
day ; plans were announced and discussed ; letters 
read and commented on ; public events reviewed ; 
and friends of the family were apt to happen in on 
their way to business to contribute their items of 
news to the general liveliness. 

The " little journeys" mentioned in the preceding 
verses were sometimes those undertaken in compli- 
ance with the religious obligation so often experi- 
enced by Friends ; and sometimes for the purpose of 
attending Anti-Slavery Conventions, or the then new 
Woman's Rights Conventions ; but occasionally they 
were visits to her sister Martha, married in 1829 to 
David Wright, of Auburn, N. Y., and settled with 
him there. 

Although there was many years' difference in age 
between these two sisters, their common interests 



united them in a strong bond of intimacy. Martha 
was no " Friend," — having lost her membership in 
the Society by her first marriage with Captain Pel- 
ham, — and had very little patience with the pecul- 
iarities of the Society, although she exemplified its 
cardinal testimonies in her faithful and excellent 
life ; but she was an ardent abolitionist, and later, a 
devoted advocate of the woman's rights movement. 
In these reforms she went hand in hand with her 
sister, and sometimes in the latter even led the way. 
Their letters to each other would fill a large volume, 
if they could be found ; but, unfortunately, many are 
lost, and many were contributions to the kindling 
box ! Our grandmother had very little sentiment 
in her composition. No matter how good the letter, 
after it had been shown to every member of the fam- 
ily who could care to see it, and had reposed a rea- 
sonable time in the little rack on her writing table, 
it was twisted up for kindling for her wood fires. In 
her visits to Auburn, she destroyed — or " used " — 
in like manner all the letters of her own writing that 
she could find. From those that remain — those of 
this time — a few extracts are given here. They 
are chiefly of domestic interest. 

to m. c. w. 

8th mo., 1841. 

... I can fancy mother 1 as plainly as need be, fast 
marching to the house, and lending a helping hand wher- 
ever she can, in order that all may be speedily accom- 
plished, the furniture placed, and the occupants in pos- 
session. I have often compared or rather contrasted myself 
with her ; especially when our children were breaking up 

1 Grandmother Coffin had gone to Auburn to assist her daughter Mar- 
tha in moving into her new house. 


housekeeping, and going to France. I have so many- 
things to take my attention, that I have been pained some- 
times at the little help I could give them. I depend on 
Anna for everything. How I could n't put weights on win- 
dows ! Has mother told how nicely Anna put new ladders 
to our blinds ? 

TO M. C. W. 

9 th mo. 3 rd , 1843. 

... I hope M. will recall her resolve to house, or " web 
herself," next winter. I doubt not she would be better 
physically, to brave the winter winds more, and mentally, 
to cultivate the social affections more. It will keep her 
spirits better for home cares and duties. I find it so, and 
I am sure I ought to be a judge of o^-goings. As to the 
assistance her daughters will render her, I can only hope 
that their uncle Thomas' wise hints, their own good sense, 
their having arrived at the responsible age of eighteen, and 
the necessities of the case, all these combined will impress 
them with the importance not only of " making straight 
steps to their feet," but of " laboring with their own hands." 
We have the work of our family nicely laid out, which 
Anna has reduced to writing. 

... I thought I was pretty smart to have the cur- 
rants squeezed and the jelly made before Meeting on 
Fourth-day morning. 1 

... It is so like our mother not to want any " new- 
fangled" way of doing that which she is in haste to accom- 
plish. Not that she is opposed to improvements and new 
inventions ; not she ! when they do not interfere with her 
desire to make quick work, and finish as she goes. When 
we were quilting for Anna and Maria, I wanted a border ; 
but not having another pair of hands (as well as a little in- 
genuity), I was obliged reluctantly to yield to her impor- 
tunity, " not to have it forever about ; " that " put-offs never 
1 Meeting began at ten o'clock. 



accomplish," etc. We do not mean that she shall quilt 
much for A. C. T., except the new silk petticoat. 

to m. c. w. 

1st mo. 2nd, 1844. 

It is always my wish to take due notice of thy letters, 
before any little family incidents fill the sheet. It is true 
that the dancing part is not exactly " in my line," — though 
I shall have to be careful what I say, since my daughter and 
son accept invites to parties where there is dancing, and stay 
far too late in the morning. Such a succession of parties as 
they are having now, I fear will be dissipating to the moral 
sense. And then the reading of such a thick two-volume 
novel as the " Mysteries of Paris " consumes a midnight 
hour occasionally. I long sometimes to see them more in- 
terested in reading that which would minister to their high- 
est good, but I have ceased to force such reading on them. 
. . . I like such answers as thy workman gave. In advo- 
cating our own cause, we are apt to overlook the other 
side. We need to be reminded to " look upon the things 
of others " as well as our own. 

Theodore Cuyler called several times before returning 
to Princeton. In allusion to his prospect of becoming an 
Old School Presbyterian minister, he averred that he by 
no means meant to have his mind and heart narrowed by 
theological or sectarian prejudices. I told him that the 
certain effect of teaching and admitting these creeds as the 
essentials of salvation, was to narrow the mind and close 
the heart. When I asked, " Dost thou feel quite satisfied 
with making such dry theology thy study ? " Miller McKim 
stepped forward and laughed at my "gentle attack," say- 
ing it was just as he had been catechised ten years before. 
The youth did not enter into Miller's history with as much 
interest as one would who was wavering in his faith. I ad- 
mire Theodore, though, for all. 

After an absence from home attending meetings, 
she says : — 



2nd mo. 22nd. 

... A fine warm day to celebrate the name of a warrior 
and a slave-holder. I asked mother not to tell thee I was 
gone, for it was pleasanter to write that I had been. I never 
left home with more reluctance than this winter. James 
went with me for three days, and went for me the last of 
the week. I attended thirteen or fourteen meetings, and 
saw many people, — there being a general flocking at Buck- 
ingham, New Hope, Doylestown, Newtown, Middletown, 
Wrightstown, Falls, and Penn's Manor. We had meetings 
with colored people also. 

. . . How glad I was that I stopped at that colored 
school ! I left fifty cents to be divided among the children, 
about three or four cents each, and the teacher proposed that 
it be laid out in books for them, which was not just what I 
intended. Those pious primers ! I wanted the little things 
made happy in the spending of their own, as they listed. . . „ 

During a long absence from home, holding meet- 
ings in various places, she visited her sister in Au- 
burn, and wrote thus to her husband : — 

Auburn, N. Y., 6th mo. 9th. 
My beloved One, and All, — . . . It is so nice to 
be able to sit here as I list, without care or concern, or 
callers ! How delightful are these long nights too, sleep- 

y ing and waking so free from care, making up for weeks of 
disturbed repose ! How pleasant it would be to have a 
loved companion in all these enjoyments ! If thou persists 

s in staying at home, will not 'our brother Thomas come. He 
ought not devote all his time to " I promise to pay," with- 
out considering the social and fraternal nature as under 
bonds as solemn, as incumbent upon him to liquidate, as 
are those which minister to his acquisitiveness. A few 
short years, as thou said, and we shall no longer be together 
in our earthly moulds, then why not make the best we may 
of life ? . . . 



She thus describes her return home : — 

I took the six o'clock train from N. Y., and reached 
this city at noon. James was over at Camden to meet me. 
He gave the trunk check to a porter, and the weather being 
cool, we walked up, intending to take the omnibus at Third 
St., but it was so much pleasanter to walk and talk, that we 
slowly " footed it." As we approached our house, our 
grandchildren, Lue and Anna, flew to meet us. Our daugh- 
ters were seated in the back room, a window being open in 
the front for them to hear the carriage stop. Our coming 
in, unperceived by them, was rather " a dip." The children 
walked in before us, saying, " there 's no carriage in sight." 
" No ? " said they, " she '11 not come then till the later train." 
Just then we walked in, and a shout from all u made the 
welkin ring ; " and such confusion of tongues for a few 
minutes you have rarely heard. 

Soon after this, one of the two servants, or "help," 
employed in the family, had an attack of cholera, 
and after being nursed through her illness, was sent 
into the country to recuperate. In this emergency 
Lucretia Mott writes : "I sent for extra help, but 
with our large family there is still much to be done ; 
so this morning I have ironed four dozen pieces, 
made soft custards, attended to stewing blackberries, 
and potted some Dutch herring, besides doing all the 
dusting, and receiving several callers. I was more 
tired when our family of thirteen gathered at dinner, 
than since I came home." 

to m. c. w. 

Phila., 4th mo. 10th, 1846. 
. . . The thirty-fifth anniversary of our marriage, when 
thou wast four years old, and asked, " Is this a wedding ? " 
I can go over each year, and recall its most striking inci- 
dents, and indeed the twelve years antecedent to that, fur- 


nish data of interest ; but I have never made a note on 
paper of the past, save in letters like this. . . . Our family 
party Seventh-day was pleasant ; fifteen at dinner, and 
twenty at tea. I worked like a beaver that morning, so as 
to be ready to sit down with them early ; did my sweeping 
and dusting, raking the grass plat, etc., made milk biscuit, 
a plum pudding, and a lemon pudding. Mariana and Mar- 
tha made cake the day before. ... I was pleased to hear 
- of thy interest in the abolition of capital punishment ; 
pleased, too, that thou art becoming such a home mission- 
ary. ... I always feel sorry for strangers to hear G. F. 
White, smart as he is, and superior in the use of lan- 
guage to most of our preachers, yet there is so much mere 
nonsense in his attempted explanations of Scripture pas- 
sages, and so much seeming allowance for slavery, blood- 
shed, and wine-drinking, that the tendency must be demoral- 
izing. That atonement study is the veriest waste of time 
and energy. Our Elders don't like that I should come out 
so plainly on the absurdity of the whole scheme, but truth 
and reason constrain me. George Truman was not united 
with yesterday in a prospect of a short journey, which 
gave evidence of more decided party feeling among us. 
James made some remarks to that effect, which gave of- 
fense. . . . 

A letter written about this time by William Lloyd 
Garrison to his wife gives his impression of the house- 
hold of his host : — 

..." I am enjoying the hospitality of James Mott and 
family ; in his abode dwells much of the disinterestedness, 
purity, and peace of heaven. His lady is certainly one of 
the most remarkable women I ever saw. She is a bold and 
fearless thinker, in the highest degree conscientious, of 
most amiable manners, and truly instructive in her conver- 
sation. Her husband is worthy of that sacred relation to 
her which he sustains, being distinguished for his goodness, 



benignity, and philanthropy. Such a couple do not make 
it very difficult to comply with our Lord's admirable in- 
junction, 6 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' " 

Although a large family in themselves, and living 
in the strictest simplicity, they gave hospitable wel- 
come to the many guests who came to them. Some- 
times it was a distinguished stranger from across the 
ocean, bearing letters of introduction; sometimes it 
was the hard-worked anti-slavery lecturer ; or the 
country Friend, in town for a few days ; or perhaps 
one of the large family circle, all of whom made this 
house a rallying point. The wretched fugitive from 
slavery also found safe shelter under their roof, and 
words of cheer and encouragement from its inmates. 
Many a poor creature came to them hungry and rag- 
ged, and departed clothed, fed, and comforted. 

At one time they became interested in an English 
family, — a mother with seven children, — who had 
come to this country with letters of introduction from 
George Thompson. They had expected to settle in 
the West, but after many disappointments, had de- 
cided to return to England, and were in Philadelphia 
awaiting the sailing of the packet ; boarding, though 
with scarcely money enough to pay their way. Lu- 
cretia Mott invited the whole family to stay at their 
house, — u it would do thee good to see their grati- 
tude," she writes, — and for two weeks she spared 
no pains to make them comfortable. 

Occasionally, — fortunately not very often, — they 
had visitors of a very different order ; self-invited visit- 
ors, who descended upon them with bag and baggage. 
In most instances they quietly submitted to this inflic- 
tion, preferring to be bored themselves, rather than 
wound others by making them appear unwelcome. 


At their table, black guests and white were treated 
by them and their family with equal courtesy. This 
consideration was not always palatable to their 
friends, but such as did not like it were recommended 
to stay away. One young man, a frequent visitor, 
finding himself one day expected to sit next a col- 
ored man at dinner, felt so greatly aggrieved that 
he resolved to go no more to the house. For some 
time he managed to keep away, in which determina- 
tion he was " violently let alone ; " but the attraction 
proved too strong ; he returned, preferring to be con- 
verted rather than forgotten ; and afterwards became, 
not only a son-in-law, but an earnest advocate of the 
equality that had so outraged him. 

In the spring of 1844 a sad blow befel this happy 
home, in the death of the beloved grandmother, Anna 
Coffin. Although she had lived to the ripe age of 
seventy-three, and her children were grown men and 
women, some of them with children and grandchil- 
dren of their own, they could not part without the 
keenest grief from one to whom they still looked as 
to a guide, relying on her judgment and valuing 
her approbation as in their younger days. Hers was 
the perfect old age, surrounded by loving descend- 
ants, who vied with each other in attention to her ; 
upon whose joys and cares she bestowed the sympa- 
thy of a heart always young, and the wisdom of a 
long and varied experience. She shared their anxie- 
ties, lessened their sorrows, and increased their hap- 
piness. No pleasure was complete without her ; no 
misfortune insupportable, when mitigated by her 
counsel and encouragement. My own memory of 
her is indistinct. She seemed, to the little girl I 
was, to be always sitting up very straight, always 



knitting, and generally humming in an undertone to 
herself. There was nothing I liked better than to 
take a nap on the floor by her chair, lulled to sleep 
by the monotonous tap of her feet, the regular click 
of her knitting-needles, and the slow measure of 
" Hush, my babe, lie still and slumber." But I re- 
member very well the awe that fell upon us at her 
death, and the sense of stillness and vacancy in the 

One of Anna Coffin's grandchildren, writing of 
her, says : — 

" She was a woman of rare common sense, preeminently 
gifted with 4 docity ' ; 1 one of the old type which is fast 
becoming extinct. She usually sat erect, in a straight- 
backed chair, and seldom indulged in the luxury of a rock- 
ing chair, unless for a little while at twilight. During her 
latter years, she was an inmate of my father's family, and 
although she lived to be seventy-three years old, I do not 
remember ever seeing her lie down in the daytime for a 
nap, or even recline on the sofa. Sometimes, when over- 
come with drowsiness, her head would drop forward, her 
work fall into her lap, and for a few minutes she would 
' lose herself,' as she said. She was very industrious, — 
never idle, — always having knitting on hand for odd 
moments. Probably she never bought a stocking in her 
life. She was very observant, with a quick perception 
of the ludicrous ; and was apt in the witty application of 
old Nantucket sayings to passing events. After she was 
sixty years old, she went to Nantucket in a sailing vessel, 
to visit her sisters. After a separation of nearly thirty 
years, these six sisters, of whom she was the youngest, met 
together once more, all widows but one." 

At the time of her mother's death, Lucretia Mott 

1 A Nantucket word, synonymous with Mrs. Stowe's "faculty." 


was just recovering from an attack of pneumonia, 
and was still too ill to leave her bed ; she insisted, 
nevertheless, on being carried into her mother's room, 
and remained there until all was over. This proved 
too much for her weak condition, and inflammation 
of the brain set in ; for two weeks she hovered be- 
tween life and death, and then very slowly regained 
her health. Once well again, however, she resumed 
her usual occupations, with no perceptible diminu- 
tion of energy, going hither and yon to attend relig- 
ious meetings and reform conventions, sometimes 
alone, and sometimes accompanied by her husband, 
when he could be spared from his business. Of the 
many philanthropic societies of Philadelphia in 
which she took part, she was often the presiding 
officer, and always an active member. She also at- 
tended with great regularity the First and Fourth- 
day meetings of Friends, taking especial interest in 
the latter, because of the large number of school 
children who attended it. She liked to direct her 
remarks to them, and was particularly fortunate in 
holding their attention. A young friend wrote of 
her in this regard : — 

" When she arose we knew she was not intent on trite 
platitudes, nor on exhortations to contentment with exist- 
ing conditions. Her manner was simple and quiet, her 
voice never rising above the pitch which is agreeable to the 
ear ; and her statements serious, calm, and moderate. We 
young folks were conscious of deep pride that we were 
members of a Christian church in which such great and in- 
dependent views as hers could find noble expression. I 
have known her subjected to bitter personal attack without 
manifesting the least excitement, or making any retaliation 
whatever. Smitten on one cheek, she unhesitatingly turned 



the other ; robbed of her cloak, she serenely made further 
surrenders of self-interest. But no one ever saw this true 
standard-bearer make any surrender of righteous principle, 
by abating one jot or tittle of the testimony to which she 
was dedicated." 

A few years after the death of Anna Coffin, her 
only son, Thomas M. Coffin, died of cholera, after a 
very short illness. His sister Lucretia, unmindful of 
the risk of contagion, went at once to his lodgings, 
and nursed him till he died, when she had his body 
taken to her own home, and held the funeral from 
there. In the excitement and fear of the epidemic, 
many of her friends thought this imprudent. In 
writing of it to her sister, she says : " How differ- 
ently people are constituted and affected ! I loved 
to be with Thomas all the time, and to do for him 
afterward all that I could, in laying him out. I 
helped lift him into his coffin." 

Thomas Coffin was about fifty years old when he 
died. Having never married, and being a warm- 
hearted man, he had become very fond of his 
nephews and nieces and their children, and was al- 
ways a welcome visitor in their homes. Like his 
father, Captain Coffin, he was an intelligent man, 
with old-fashioned courtly manners. In his opinions 
he was more liberal than his somewhat cynical way 
of talking would lead one to believe. Unlike the 
other members of his family, he was strikingly 
homely, and seemed rather to enjoy the peculiarity, 
often exercising his caustic humor at his own ex- 
pense. It is told of him, that he was induced in the 
early days of daguerreotypes to have a picture taken 
of himself ; but on being asked afterwards to show 
it, he said, "It was such an excellent likeness that 
T destroyed it." 


It was during his life, and shortly after the death 
of " Grandmother Coffin," that the memorable "fam- 
ily meetings " were instituted. They began in 1847 
and continued for ten years, when the removal from 
Philadelphia of various members of the family made 
them no longer possible. These meetings were open 
to any descendant of "Grandfather Folger," but 
were composed mainly of female descendants, who 
met from house to house, in alphabetical order, every 
Fifth-day during the winter, right after the usual 
two-o'clock dinner, and stayed until dark, — except 
occasionally, when especially invited to tea. Each 
brought her sewing, any letters of general interest 
that she had received, and whatever news she could 
muster. These gatherings of the clan formed a sort 
of domestic " exchange," and afforded opportunity 
for social intercourse, as well as for consultation on 
matters requiring deliberation and judgment; and 
beyond this, they promoted a kindly esprit de corps 
that has lasted to the third generation. For a few 
winters, as many as twelve different families were 
included in this privilege. 

As a rule, children were not admitted. We often 
looked longingly through the parlor door at the 
pleasant groups, and made all possible errands into 
the room ; but being then at the very undesirable 
age of "little pitchers," we were speedily sent out 
again. If we sometimes contrived to edge into a de- 
mure corner with our little pretense of sewing, one 
sharp-eyed cousin was sure to discover us ! How- 
ever, when the company was asked to stay to tea, 
and the various fathers and husbands swelled the 
ranks, we children were also favored ; and nothing 
was more delightful. Tea was handed, and we were 



allowed to pass the dishes. Then came such games 
as proverbs or anagrams ; and sometimes, best of all 
to us, the reading of original verses of very pointed 
and personal wit. Who of us — and how few there 
are now ! — can ever forget those " family meet- 
ings " ! Our grandmother began them, at first 
merely meaning to try to fill her mother's place, so 
sadly vacant ; but gradually it grew to be her own 
place, and she became the centre from which all ra- 
diated, towards which all turned. The family circle 
widened and widened, but under her magic influence 
it never broke. She drew into its increasing range 
ever increasing elements of strength and renewal. 

This chapter, mainly of domestic interest, may 
fitly conclude with an extract from a letter of Lucre- 
tia Mott to her husband, on the occasion of his sixty- 
first birthday, he being then away from home. 

" Fourth - day, my dear husband's birthday, — would 
that we could pass it together ! The children all gather 
and celebrate it by presenting their children to be led 
about, and ' kept as the apple of the eye.' Forty years 
that we have loved each other with perfect love, though 
not formally married quite so long. How much longer the 
felicity is to be ours, who can tell ? What the higher joys 
to be revealed in the spiritual world, no man can utter ! " 


It will be necessary to go back a few years to take 
up again the letters of Lucretia Mott, and trace in 
them the increasing disfavor with which the Society 
of Friends regarded her. They disapproved of her 
sentiments, and were "held very uneasy" by her 
quiet persistence; especially as she never stepped 
far enough beyond their limitations to enable them 
to deal with her. This state of things, deplorable as 
it appears, continued until public opinion had made 
the anti-slavery cause popular. In place of the to- 
kens of loving appreciation with which her coming 
into the re-organized society had been greeted, she 
now received discourtesy, rebuke, and censure, at 
times amounting to persecution. Through all, she 
pursued the course which Divine law had written so 
plainly upon her heart, and never faltered in keeping 
the covenant of her early days. Courteous and con- 
siderate with all, she yet withheld the truth from 

Before taking up the letters, however, it may not 
be amiss to introduce the following extracts from the 
journal of a venerable Friend. In his entry 4 th mo. 
30 tb , 1843, he says : — 

" Let me say a few more words respecting that handmaid 
of the Lord, Lucretia Mott ! What else but the Divine 
arm of power can support her, and enable her to declare un- 
sophistical truth with such boldness, convincing her hearers 



of the truths of the Gospel, in all its simplicity, stripped of 
its forms and ceremonies ; she shows it up in its native 
purity and in the most winning aspect. O faithful servant, 
favored of the Lord ! May thy sun go down in clear se- 
renity, without any clouds, and thy spiritual vision keep 
clear to the last ! " 

And again, 1 st mo. 21 st , 1844: — 

" On sitting down in meeting, it came into my heart to 
pray for Lucretia Mott, that she might be supported in 
all her trials and her discouragements. . . . Before I was 
through my aspirations, she arose with, * In your patience 
possess ye your souls/ and gave an edifying discourse." 

2 nd mo., 1845 : — 

"Next, that precious handmaid of the Lord, Lucretia 
Mott. Great have been her exercise and devotion for the 
cause of the slave ; may her reward be sure ! Thou pre- 
cious lamb, thou hast known what it is to be in perils 
through false brethren, and to be persecuted for righteous- 
ness' sake, and thine is the kingdom of heaven. Let me 
here bear my testimony to thy edifying discourses, and be 
permitted to say that I believe thou art not far from the 

Once more, 3 rd mo. 29 th , 1846 : — 

" Lucretia Mott occupied most of the meeting with a 
lively and edifying discourse before about eleven hundred 
people. Lucretia, thou beloved handmaid of the Lord ! 
Great is thy faith, and great are thy persecutions ! " 

The first letter in this connection, written at the 
same time of the foregoing extract, was addressed to 
Richard D. and Hannah Webb, of Dublin. 

Piiila., 3rd mo. 23rd, 1846. 
My dear Friends, — In attempting to revive a cor- 
respondence which has so nearly died out for want of faith- 
fulness on my part, apologies for the neglect would seem a 



natural beginning ; but never relishing such in letters re- 
ceived, I will not inflict them on you. That part in your 
last which took our attention most forcibly was that which 
would naturally be striking, if not shocking, to a traditional 
Quaker — that both of you have changed your costume 
somewhat. I have been looking over your letters to us, 
from time to time since the spring of 1840 — that ever 
memorable season. There is none directly to us since my 
illness, two years ago. In these we can trace a gradual 
non-adherence to sect, as well as to what are regarded 
orthodox doctrines. I never quite wanted you to cut loose 
from these, because you would thus lose what influence 
, you might have with Friends, as well as some other of 
your benighted inhabitants. Although I attach little impor- 
tance to our peculiar dress or language, and have no wish 
to see either perpetuated, still I would prefer that the 
young should not be educated in these peculiarities, rather 
than that their parents should leave them. This is not 
meant as any censure of your course. You have probably 
acted from deliberate conviction. Your dress may be quite 
as simple in its present form, and that is the testimony 
after all. I know it is dry work to keep up any form, 
after the life and power of it have passed away. Our 
afternoon meetings have long been burdensome to us, and 
of late we have ceased attending them, generally employing 
that time in visiting the colored people. 

Devoting a few hours occasionally in this way has ap- 
peared to us as acceptable worship, as the fast which our 
Jews have chosen. They would say, " This ought ye to 
have done, and not leave the other undone." But in this, 
as in some other acts, we have taken the liberty to judge 
for ourselves. The " Select " order among us has come in 
for a share of opposition. After nearly thirty years' ex- 
perience and observation of the results of this establish- 
ment, we have come to the conclusion, that nearly all the 
divisions among us have had their origin in these meetings. 



Clothing a few of our equal brethren with power to judge 
the ministry ; selecting here and there one to ordain for the 
ministry ; and placing these in elevated positions ; it is no 
difficult matter for them to regard themselves " the heads 
of the tribes," and to act accordingly. There is quite a 
spirit of " come-outerism " in some parts of our Yearly 
M s , as well as in Western N. Y., and Ohio. The intoler- 
ant, proscriptive course of those in power among us has 
led to this result. 

The disownment of such men as I. T. Hopper, C. Mar- 
riott, J. A. Dugdale, and his friends of Green Plain, 
Ohio, has caused great disaffection, and quite a number 
have meted the same measure, by disowning the Society in 
their turn. You may have seen some account of the Marl- 
boro' conference, growing out of the treatment of S. S. 
Foster, by our Western Quarterly M s . The address that 
conference issued is being presented by them to each of 
our Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative M gs . Commit- 
tees withdraw to examine it, and of course report against 
the reading of it. Some few of the Monthly M g3 have 
read it. Geo. F. White and other opposers are traveling 
here and there, using their influence on that side. There 
is a strong effort made by our rulers to check the liberal 
ministry among us. No reformers are " recommended." 
The difficulties seem increasing with those already ordained. 
Griffith M. Cooper, one of our most radical ministers, has 
lately been deposed by a small minority — the ruling influ- 
ence in his meeting — a branch of Genesee Yearly. Others 
of us meet with little sympathy or unity to travel- abroad. 
It is proposed by some to hold a general conference, in view 
of another separation and re-organization. But there are so 
many now who have no unity with religious combinations, 
that it would be difficult to effect a reform in that way. 

The assumed authority of men's m ss , and the admitted 
subordination of women's, is another cause of complaint. 
Indeed, an entire radical change in our Discipline would 


be the result of another movement or division with us. 
Some of us were prepared for much greater changes, or 
advances than we made, eighteen years ago ; but we igno- 
bly compromised to preserve our name and standing, and 
to gain numbers. Those who were gained by such conces- 
sions are now our opposers ; we having unwisely exalted 
them above equal brethren, clothing them with office, and 
giving them power. But enough of this. You, having 
seen your way' further out of the shackles of sect, will 
take little interest in this Society warfare. You have 
quarrels enough of your own, too, to occupy you. We 
should like to hear how the Gurneyites and Wilburites 
are getting along with you — whether for " the divisions 
of Reuben there are great searchings of heart." The Or- 
thodox here are looking with some anxiety to the coming 
Yearly Meeting. Rhode Island Yearly has quite separated. 
There is no more love lost between these parties, than be- 
tween abolitionists and their opposers, or than there was 
twenty years since, during the Hicksite contest. How un- 
worthily have the London committee conducted themselves 
towards the anti-slavery part of Indiana Yearly M g . But 
what better could one expect from such bigots. I felt a 
wish to call and see them when they were in this city, but 
j my husband did not incline to go with me, and I had not 
the courage to go alone. 

When you write again, and let that be very soon, please 
mention whether the " Jacobites " or " White Quakers " 
have come to an end ; how much of division there is 
among you ; whether your anti-slavery appeals in refer- 
ence to the use of the meeting-houses produced any effect ; 
and what progress there is in the temperance cause. Geo. 
F. White prophesies its " speedy downfall — - even as abo- 
lition is passing away." And the " still more specious 
and plausible movement for peace " is " doomed to a sim- 
ilar fate " — " they being all, counterfeits of the true." 
Elihu Burritt is sincerely interested, I believe, in the 



peace question, as far as he goes ; and he and his co-adju- 
tors are doing great good. We may hope that they, and 
other lovers of peace, in this land and yours, will avert 
the impending danger of a war between these two coun- 
tries. Our politicians and demagogues may make a great 
bluster, and your nation may expend much in preparation 
for battle ; but let the moral power of the friends of peace 
be exerted and we may hope the sword will be stayed. 
Adiu Ballou is coming out with an exposition of non-re- 
sistance, written at the suggestion of our Edward M. Davis, 
and published at his expense. . . . 

Do any of Theodore Parker's writings reach you ? His 
Installation 'Sermon, radical though it is, is excellent. Is 
James Haughton prepared for this advance step on the 
part of the Unitarians ? It seemed to us that the Dublin 
believers in that faith were but little beyond their more 
orthodox worshipers. 

Richard Allen's letter in a late " Liberator " cheered our 
hearts. It is pleasant to find that the deceitfulness of 
riches is not choking the Divine word in him. His hope 
in the Anti-Corn-Law movement is just what I like to see. 
Would that we had more faith in the ultimate triumph of 
great principles ! The free-produce stir, and Joseph Sturge's 
interest in that question, was good news : though I fully 
agree with Richard, that " it is by other means that slavery 
is to be overthrown." This is an act of consistency, how- 
ever, and will have its weight as far as it goes. A society 
has lately been formed here among our Orthodox Friends, 
from which we hope for a better supply of free grown 
cotton goods. I trust that Joseph Sturge will use his in- 
fluence for the manufacture of the finer cotton fabrics. 
How I longed when in England for that question to receive 
more favor in the Convention, rather than the reasonings 
of the apostate Colver and that Quaker, — I forget his 

I have a gauze cap, given me by our hostess in London, 


with a hope that I would imitate its tasty form, and silk 
cord ; thus improving, in her eye, my head-gear. She little 
knew how fearful and jealous 1 our lovers of the peculiar 
dress are of the slightest innovation. My returning home 
with my " coal-scoop bonnet " a little more elevated in the 
crown, and a few additional plaits in it, was regarded as an 
unworthy imitation of your Friends approximating to the 
"world and its corrupt customs." I keep that cap, how- 
ever, in memory of its owner, and like to produce it at times 
to astonish our natives with its high crown and odd shape. 

Who would have thought that six years would pass 
away before one of our Dublin friends would visit Amer- 
ica ? We are all growing so old that you ought to lose 
no time. I had fondly hoped to introduce my dear mother 
to some of you ; but she is gone ; alas ! Two years have 
passed since her death, and we still mourn our loss. Our 
family is changing in other respects. Two of our children 
have married during the last year. 2 Only one, a daughter, 
remains with us now. 

We have engaged the services of some of our good speak- 
ers, to labor in new fields in New Jersey, and parts of this 
State. Now is a favorable time for anti-slavery action ; 
for the arrival of the slave ship " Pons " at our wharf, and 
all the horrid details of the wretched captives have created 
a sensation among our quiet-loving inhabitants. A large 
anti-slavery meeting was held last First-day on the wharf, 
in sight of the ship. Several thousand persons listened 

1 Just how " fearful and jealous " the Friends were then of any change 
in the cut of their peculiar dress, may be inferred from the following in- 
cident : — 

Shortly after our grandmother's return from England, she attended 
Friends' Meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, very naturally wearing her 
new English bonnet. At the close of the meeting, one of the Elders said 
to her, " I am sorry, my dear, to see that thou hast made a change in thy 
dress. When I saw thee coming in this morning with that bonnet on, 
I could think of nothing but a soldier's jockey-cap ! " 

2 Elizabeth married Thomas S. Cavender, of Philadelphia, — and 
Thomas, his cousin, Mariana Pelham, of Auburn, N. Y. 



with thrilling interest to the appeals of Dr. Elder and 
Thomas Earle- 

J. Miller McKim is steadily devoting himself to the in- 
terests of the cause at the Anti-Slavery office, and as joint 
editor with Mary Grew, of the " Penn a Freeman." 

I must now say farewell, with all the love this can con- 
vey to our dear friends in Dublin. 

Again farewell, Lucretia Mott. 

Phila., 4th mo. 28th, 1846. 
My dear Elizabeth Pease, — More than two years 
have passed since the receipt of thy truly acceptable letter,, 
During that time I have hardly written to any of our dear 
English or Irish friends ; for after the severe illness which 
so greatly affected my nervous system, I was advised to 
avoid much reading or writing. But I must send thee a 
line now, dear Elizabeth, expressive of the sympathy I feel 
with in thy late bereavement. Thy long continued 
devotion to thy dear father doubtless renders this stroke 
doubly trying to thee. In many ways we feel such a loss. 
The tear will naturally flow at the severance of such a tie ; 
and far be it from me to seek to stay it. I know full well 
the keenness of the separation between parent and child. 
My dear mother was taken from us when I could illy bear 
such a shock. She was companionable in every way ; her 
grandchildren as well as her children delighted in her so- 
ciety. She was vigorous in constitution of both body and 
mind, and promised a longer life than seventy-three. But 
we had to yield her, and resignation to the event has been 
a hard lesson. I therefore feel less able to preach it to 
others. . • » 

The contents of thy last letter may not, after so long a 
silence on my part in reply, be familiar to thee now. Thou 
alluded to our intercourse together, in England, and to 
some little constraint that thou afterward thought existed 
between us. As to thy fear of engrossing too much of our 


time, and thy regarding us as among the " lions of the Con- 
vention," the thought, I believe, never occurred to us. On 
the contrary, we felt truly grateful for thy prompt attention 
to us, while some, from sectarian bigotry, were standing 
aloof. As to the " lion " part, we felt much more that we 
were " counted as sheep for the slaughter." That feeling, 
added to the knowledge that many among you were greatly 
shocked at our supposed heresies, did cause a little restraint 
in our mingling with you. When we met accidentally at 
meeting, T felt quite a pity for thee, seeing that thou would 
be brought into a strait after meeting, whether to speak 
cordially to us, and thus identify thyself with those who 
were " despised and rejected of men," or to turn from us, 
and thus do violence to the promptings of thy kind nature. 
But the more intercourse we had, the more these fears and 
restraints vanished ; and our latter interviews — especially 
the last, in Liverpool — were all any one could desire. 
Since that time, our firm adherence to the great cause 
which first bound us together, and the freedom of corre- 
spondence, have knit us together " as the heart of one 
man," and we can greet one another as very friends. As 
to being sundered by differences in points of faith, if that 
be sufficient cause of division, " Oh Lord, who shall stand ? " 
Have not those, who at that time formed a strong and 
united phalanx of opposition to " Hicksism," now become 
divided among themselves, on little hair-splitting points of 
theology? Let us rather look, as the truth-loving Jesus 
recommended, for the fruits which proceed from a good 
heart ; for about these there is no controversy. There is a 
response in every heart to the exhibition of justice, mercy, 
love, peace, and charity, which goes far to prove that God 
has created man upright ; and that the counter doctrine 
of human depravity has done much to make the heart 
wicked, and to produce the giant sins that afflict mankind. 
. . . What dreadful battles on the plains of India ! A mon- 
strous sacrifice of human life, by a professedly Christian 



nation ! And your poor starved people at home too, over- 
worked and underpaid until driven to desperation ; what is 
to be done, in view of all these evils ? The remedy looks 
at times so hopeless, that I am ready to choose death rather 
than life, if I must feel as I have done for these classes. 
There was an extensive strike of the hand-loom weavers in 
this city, last winter. They were reduced almost to starva- 
tion ; but they did not gain the added wages claimed, for 
" with the oppressor there is power." I could but sympa- 
thize with them in their demand for a better recompense 
to their early and late toil. . . . My James desires most 
affectionate remembrances. Thine, L. Mott. 

The following letter is in reply to one from R. D. 
Webb, written during the prevalence of the great 
famine in Ireland : — 

Phil., 2nd mo. 21st, 1847. 
My dear Friend, Richard D. Webb, — Thy very 
acceptable letter was most opportune. Not only was it 
read and re-read at the several m gs referred to, but long 
extracts from it were published in " Friends' Intelligen- 
cer," and thus were well circulated through our Yearly 
Meeting boundaries. James says the subject was opened 
by an Elder in our meet s . He did not tell you that that 
Elder was prompted by one of our abolition friends ; for 
after all, " men of one idea," as they are called, if work is 
to be done in any department of justice, mercy, or benev- 
olence, must take the lead, either openly, or behind the 
curtain, as the case may require. This " ball " for Ireland 
is so thoroughly set in motion now, that abolitionists may 
leave it with those who refuse to work with them in their 
cause, the removal of one fruitful source of misery and star- 
vation — personal slavery. Accordingly, we have been in- 
terested these two weeks past in an effort to reestablish 
the " True American," (Cassius M. Clay's paper,) in Ken- 
tucky. John C. Vaughn, a South Carolinian, edited the 



paper with ability, after C. M. Clay left it, and indeed 
mostly after it was moved to Cincinnati. Vaughn has been 
obliged to suspend it, owing to lack of funds, though he 
has received very many letters from residents of Kentucky, 
urging its revival. He has been to New York and Boston 
to raise funds and has been quite successful ; $3,500 being 
subscribed. It is a hobby with him, and he has already 
expended $1,500, in keeping up the paper as long as he 
did. He is now aided by influential men in Kentucky, who 
with help from the North, are determined to carry it on. 
We have called together our liberal friends, in scores at 
our house, and heard his letters and statements ; he pre- 
ferred this mode to a more public m s . We shall raise 
more than $1,000 here. It is attended with greater ex- 
pense to print and publish at the South. 

You will see by our papers how many causes of encour- 
agement there are for persevering labor in the harvest 
field of freedom. The increasing interest and action in Del- 
aware, and some other slave states ; the freedom of discus- 
sion in Congress ; the editorials in our political newspapers ; 
the acts of our legislatures ; lastly, and some will think 
leastly, our success in calling large meetings of women, to 
confer together, and to petition on this subject; all these 
inspire us with hope that the days of slavery are numbered. 
We give the " Anti-Slavery League " also our fraternal all- 
hail ! for its broad platform ; putting to shame the London 
committee and " World's Convention." . . . 

I received a letter not long since from the peace advo- 
cate, Elihu Burritt, asking my aid in procuring for him a 
list of all the Sunday-schools in our city, with their super- 
intendents, in order to try to establish a correspondence on 
the subject of peace, love, and liberty. I confess I have 
not faith enough in the efficacy of the measure, nor indeed 
in Sunday-school operations in general, to enter into it 
very heartily. I did, however, take the letter to the agent 
of the Sunday-School Union, and he declined to furnish 


such a list; as they only instilled general principles, leaving 
details for parents and other schools. I intend to write to 
Elihu Burritt on the subject. It is often a question, and 
still unsettled with me, whether the various religious or- 
ganizations, with all their errors, are more productive of 
good than evil. But until we can offer something better in 
their stead to a people largely governed by religious senti- 
ment, and a natural love for association, it requires great 
care how we shake their faith in existing institutions. I 
feel so when sitting in our colored Methodist meetings, 
where appeals to emotion call forth such loud shoutings ; 
and yet the effect of the religious training they receive, 
with all its grossness, is wholesome on their lives and con- 
duct. So, in our Quaker Society, with all the undue stress 
on externals, and all the preaching up " quietude" and 
doing nothing, still, the appeal to the inner sense is not 
made in vain ; and many of our fold are among the fore- 
most in reform and good works. We have a blessed ex- 
ample, however, in the anointed of God, in his exposure 
of the errors and sins which obstructed the progress of his 
religious sect ; and duty, not less imperative, is urging 
some now to cry against the errors of creeds, and forms of 
worship, as obstacles to true holiness. 

The taking for granted that everything in the Bible is 
true, and must not be questioned, is doing much harm. 
"War and slavery cannot be so successfully assailed while 
this is the case. John Jackson, 1 a minister in our Society, 
has published a little work on " Peace and War," in which 
he calls in question the Divine right of the Jewish wars. 
This has brought up a new issue among our Friends, and 
many of us are now charged with unsound doctrine. " Go- 

1 John Jackson was a Friend who stood deservedly high in the Society 
as a rarely gifted and impressive preacher, and a consistent, exemplary, 
and influential minister. In the year 184G he published a small treatise 
entitled Reflections on Peace and War, which soon reached a second edi- 
tion. His object was to show that war is at variance with the Christian 


ing out m the mixture " is seldom complained of now. We 
are in a divided state ; but not any more so than are our 
Orthodox Friends. The death of Joseph John Gurney has 
made some sensation, and much has been published of eulo- 
gies and elegies, and all the particulars of his death and 
burial. I would not speak invidiously, however ; for his 
generous outpouring of Fortune's treasures was worthy of 
. praise. Let his example be followed ! 

Every part of thy letter was interesting. The little 
sketch of Joseph Blanco White prepared us to read the 
book with a keen relish. Of course Sarah Pugh had time to 
read it first, as she is the most of " a lady of leisure " among 
us. The work is rare here ; only a few English copies to 
be obtained. Our children are now reading it, and I enjoy 
it by piece-meal. It is exceedingly interesting, but much 
too radical for all of you, but James Haughton ; is n't it ? 
If not, a change must have come over you since we were 
in Dublin. Only think, almost seven years ago ! You only 
whispered heresy then. The published correspondence in 
J. Blanco White's life adds greatly to the interest of the 
book. We wonder that we heard nothing of him while we 
were in England. Theodore Parker is preparing his hear- 
ers and readers for great radicalism in Humanitarian Chris- 
tianity. Such preaching and such works as White's will 
certainly modify the orthodox faith, as the boldness of a 
Priestly, a Worcester, and a Channing has already done. 

Have you noticed what a step the Unitarian convention 
took in this city, in graciously permitting a woman to 
speak ? And such a woman ! That made quite a stir in 
our Zion, and increased the opposition to that woman, too ! 

But I am coming to the end of my paper without saying 
how my love flows unbounded to your circle — all. 

Most affectionately, L. Mott. 

It is hardly necessary to explain that Lucretia 
Mott herself was the woman who spoke in the Uni- 
tarian convention. 



The newspapers of the time noticed her address 
according to their several predilections, some giving 
favorable reports, others dismissing the innovation 
of a woman's speaking as an unwarrantable " lug- 
ging in of the woman's rights question." The fol- 
lowing report is from the " Proceedings of the Reg- 
ular Autumnal Convention of Unitarian Christians, 
held in Philadelphia, Oct. 20, 1846." 

..." Rev. Mr. Furness begged leave to interrupt the 
discussion a moment, to acquaint the convention that a 
member from the Society of Friends was present, Lucretia 
Mott, and to move that she be invited to take a seat in the 
convention, with leave to speak if she should find herself 
moved to it. Passed without opposition." 

Lucretia Mott said : — 

" It is most unexpected to me, to be permitted to speak 
on this occasion. I am gratified in having an invitation to 
speak out the truth without clothing it in set theological 
language. I liked the observations of the last speaker (Dr. 
Hedge), especially in reference to this point. We make the 
cross of Christ of no effect by the ambiguous and deceiving 
phraseology we throw around his precepts and doctrines. 
It goes to perpetuate the erroneous views which prevail in 
Christendom, of the divinity of Christ and the vicarious 
atonement. If we could disabuse Christianity of the errors 
of theology, we should do much towards advancing so great 
and glorious a system, if it can be called such. But when 
preachers, for fear of losing their reputation in the relig- 
ious world, speak of their faith in the divinity of Christ and 
the vicarious atonement, they are retarding Christian prog- 
ress by their want of simplicity and frankness. 

" Nothing is more fitted to impede this progress than 
the popular theology, the generally received system of faith. 
A speaker (Mr. Clarke) has said that we ought not willingly 
to allow ourselves to be cut off from the body of the 



Church. But however vital that body may be, and I would 
not deny it much earnestness and worth, yet we must be 
willing to be separated from it in respect to these important 
doctrines. But who is there of you glorying so much in 
that spirit of heresy in which St. Paul boasted — heresy 
after the manner of men — who of you stands so fast in 
the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, as to ac- 
knowledge the extent of his secret suspicions of views ordi- 
narily professed ? Who is ready to hold up the purity of 
human nature in place of its depravity? Who will speak 
of the importance of becoming Christ-like, by following his 
example ? 

" We are too prone to take our views of Christianity from 
some of the credulous followers of Christ, lest any depart- 
ure from the early disciples should fasten upon us the sus- 
picion of unbelief in the Bible. But should we not feel 
free to speak of the narratives of those who hand down the 
account of Christ's mission in their true character ? The 
importance of free thinking and honest speech cannot be 
over-estimated. Be not afraid of the reputation of infidels, 
or the opprobium of the religious world. We must be will- 
ing to be severed from it, if necessary. And our fruits, and 
not our opinions, will finally judge us. There is but one 
criterion of judgment; and everybody knows what love, 
truth, mercy are ! If we seek to bring forth righteousness 
exceeding the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, 
then we need fear little, though brother deliver up brother 
to death ! It may become a small thing to be judged of 
man's judgment. We ought to rejoice that we are per- 
mitted to offer a pattern of Christianity exceeding the com- 
mon one. We need Saviours that shall be as Saviours on 
our own Mount Zion. How great is the mischief those 
false doctrines are doing, which make man depraved, and 
then point him to the vicarious sufferings of Christ ! We 
are too prone to begin with the spirit, and then seek to be 
made perfect in the flesh. We clothe our thoughts in ex- 



pressions that deceive. There is too much image worship 
still practiced by Christians ! We are apt to proselyte to 
sect rather than to Christianity ! It has been well said, our 
fathers made graven images, but we make verbal ones. God 
has made man after his own image, and man has made God 
after his image. If you have had Chanuing and Worcester 
to lead you on, why are you not prepared to carry the 
work forward, even beyond them ? 

" My heart was made humble and tender when I came 
into this convention. I saw in the chair Samuel Parkman, 
of Boston, the son of an old friend of my father. Looking 
at Calvinistic Boston as it then was, and considering how 
Channing rose and bore his testimony, and what results 
followed, we may be encouraged. But let the work ad- 
vance. Lo ! the field is white to harvest. . . . 

" Brethren, hearken to the Spirit. He dwelleth with you, 
though you know it not. It is He that talketh with you 
by the way. Are not the aspirations for truth a proof that 
we have a present God with us ? " 

The next letter in order is also to Richard D. 

Phil., 4lh mo. 26th, 1847. 
My dear Friend, — ... I have not time to say what 
I would of the " Life of Joseph Blanco White." I have 
indeed read it with intense interest, and regard it the best 
radical or heretical work that has appeared in our age ; be- 
cause the religious sentiment continues so alive and active, 
while his mind is undergoing all the phases from gross su- 
perstition to arch-heresy. I suppose that part of his Diary 
is omitted during the period of his " unbelief." Also some 
of his correspondence with those in this country of more 
radical minds than Professor Norton and Dr. Channing. 
I should like to see what he wrote to Ripley, for there is 
some allusion to his letter to him by Dr. Channing. On 
the whole, however, J. H. Thorn has clone admirably, to 
give forth to the world so much that is far in advance of 


English Unitarianism, if we except the radical, Fox, and 
his co-preacher. How dare Richard D. "Webb let such a 
book " go the rounds among his friends ? " Unless, in- 
deed, he has arrived at the " I 'm not afraid " state, which 
his brother Thomas averred himself to be in, when we were 
in Dublin, while Richard was at that time non-committal. 
His soundness in the Faith is questionable, to say the least, 
who would circulate such a book. I borrowed it, but had 
not read far, before I proposed to our Edward M. Davis to 
buy it, and let it " go the rounds among our friends." The 
price is seven dollars here, there being no American edi- 
tion, and very few English copies. Edward bought the last 
copy to be had in this city. I sympathized especially with 
Blanco White's lonely and sad feelings, in having to give 
up one friend after another " for the Son of Man's sake," 
and that his honesty forbade all compromise or conserva- 
tism. I wish I could show you my notes ; they form three 
little volumes ! Oh, why did n't you know of Blanco White, 
and tell us all about him, when we were with you ! He 
was living then. I have wondered if the " late Mrs. Rath- 
bone," who lent him John Woolman's works, was the wife 
of Wm. Rathbone, our friend ? How well he writes of us 
Quakers, — no, of our predecessors. 

When I lent Woolman's works, years ago, to J. Miller 
McKim, while he was in process of conversion, I told him 
that I defended not the visionary part, and ever thought 
the early Quakers too superstitious. Having for two years 
past ceased to assume the kneeling posture in prayer, and 
also the standing posture while others pray, I could go 
with Blanco White in this non-conformity also, even while 
it has brought down " Cherry St." anathemas thick upon 
me, and raised quite a " tempest in our tea-pot " this win- 
ter, when the Liberals would have me on the school com- 
mittee. My going to the Unitarian convention, too, was 
almost an unpardonable sin. But I must stop. James has 
sent for this letter. I wanted to sum up the cheering evi- 



dences of anti-slavery progress, as I did in a late letter to 
George Combe. I also wrote to him more fully than I 
have here about Blanco White. 

Ever, ever yours in very heart, L. Mott. 

On more than one occasion, about this time, when 
James and Lucretia Mott attended Friends' meet- 
ings not far distant from Philadelphia, instead of 
being invited to neighboring houses for refreshment, 
they were allowed to resort to the country taverns ; a 
thing unknown in former years, when such breaches 
of hospitality would not have been committed under 
any circumstances. Now it was countenanced as 
one means of showing the disfavor with which they 
were regarded. 

In the autumn of 1847 they made a journey to 
some of the western states, to attend various anti- 
slavery and religious meetings, and among them the 
Yearly Meetings of Friends held in Salem, Ohio, 
and Richmond, Indiana. They carried no certificate 
from their own Meeting, nor is it likely that one 
would have been given, even if asked for, as the 
Meeting was not then "in unity" with them. It 
must be borne in mind, however, that this did not 
affect their right to attend any meetings of the So- 
ciety, but only their right to appoint them ; and also 
that the main object of the journey was to attend the 
anti-slavery conventions. It is no uncommon thing 
for "ministering Friends" to travel in this way, 
without certificates, and to be cordially welcomed 
notwithstanding. Lucretia Mott had a right to ex- 
pect courteous treatment even from those who dif- 
fered from her in the views she held. In Ohio she 
was generally well received, and attentively heard. 



The Ohio Friends, many of whom were earnest abo- 
litionists, opened their houses to her and her hus- 
band, and willingly called meetings for them. In 
Indiana it was the reverse. A bitter sectarian feel- 
ing prevailed there. Some idea of this may be gath- 
ered from the following extracts from the " Diary of 
Jane Price." Jane Price, a woman of high repute, 
and an " approved minister," was the wife of Benja- 
min Price, an esteemed Friend, who was for several 
successive years clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meet- 
ing. In company with Elizabeth M. Peart, also an 
approved minister, she attended the Western Yearly 
Meetings before mentioned, traveling most of the 
way in private conveyance. During her absence 
she kept a record of her observations and experi- 
ences in the form of letters to her husband. The 
first date pertinent to our subject is : — 

Salem, Ohio, First-day, 8 th mo. 2d th , 1847. — James and 
Lucretia Mott arrived in public conveyance just at meet- 
ing-time. Lucretia spoke at the close. . . . 

Sixth-day, 9 th mo. 3 rd . — In the little I have written 
concerning the Yearly Meeting, I have only reported 
women's doings, leaving the brethren to speak for them- 
selves. In Select Meeting on Fourth-day, Lucretia gave 
her views as thou hast heard her, honestly I think, and 
from the motive to do or say what she thought required, as 
was also the case in the Yearly Meeting, after the Query 
in regard to reading. She remarked on the frivolous pub- 
lications, " lady's periodicals," etc., containing that which 
merely went to promote vanity and degrade the mind ; 
and before she sat down, recommended to the young 
people a little book on the subject of " Peace and War," 
written by John Jackson. This immediately brought out 
a spirited reply from a minister of this Meeting (for there 



are spirited dear friends on both sides), in which she ex- 
pressed her " astonishment " that such a thing should be 
recommended, as to read a book " that despises the Bible." 
It passed off without any reply or notice whatever, for it 
was no time to say much just then ; but it was not any- 
thing of this kind that was the " head of astonishment " to 
me, but conversation out of meeting. I think we need to 
watch. . . . 

Richmond, Indiana, Second-day, 9 th mo. 27 th . — At- 
tended the first sitting of the Yearly Meeting, quite large, 
and a pretty good meeting. Our friend Lucretia made 
some excellent preparatory remarks, that I think could not 
give dissatisfaction, or at least need not. If any were not 
satisfied, they kept it to themselves ; though some of the 
Elders waited on her yesterday morning, and " desired her 
to go home," or if she went to meeting, " desired her not 
to speak ! " I feel my mind stayed ; having the fullest con- 
fidence in Truth, and that it will bear all out who do not 
forsake it ; but I am pained to see prejudice take the place 
of Christian charity. I have heretofore avoided going at 
all into particulars relative to matters and things I have 
been privy to, but could not help hinting at the above. 

. . . The Queries were also read, and the state of Society 
spoken to. Lucretia spoke once, I thought impressively, 
and to the purpose ; though some no doubt did not feel 
unity, as there is a strong feeling against her in the minds 
of some here ; also in opposition to J. Jackson's book ; 
many would be afraid to suffer it in their houses, much less 
read it. ... I would like if thou could see our friends 
James and Lucretia, when they return. I think we, that 
is, Friends, will all have to learn to concede to others that 
sincerity, and that liberty to judge for themselves what is 
right, that we claim for ourselves. 

Fourth-day, 29"'. — Meetings for worship were held in 
both houses ; we attended the same we did on First-day. 
James and Lucretia were in the other house. She spoke, 


several observed to me afterwards, in a very interesting 
manner ; told them many truths ; others did not like a 
good deal she said. The meeting was very quiet, and 
nothing unpleasant occurred to disturb the solemnity. 

Sixth-day, 1 st of 10 th mo. — They have had, and I fear 
will have, sad entanglements and wounds, and wounding, 
more or less, all through this Yearly Meeting. I regret, 
I could mourn and lament, at the feeling that is spreading 
far and wide, at the tale-bearing and detraction, and the 
willingness to give occasion of offense. . . . James and 
Lucretia have nearly always gone back from meeting to 
their lodging, having taken boarding at a Friend's house. 
There has been a great deal here directed against them. 
Lucretia has been quite poorly, too, but has attended all the 
sittings. She and James stepped in to the widow Evans' 
between meetings on Fourth-day morning, where were a 
good many friends of the evangelical order ; a roomful 
present ; Lucretia said little or nothing, merely came in to 
warm her feet. She was in tears all the while, as she sat 
in one corner by the fire ; just before she went out, I whis- 
pered to her what had deeply impressed my mind all the 
while she was in the room : " The disciple is not above his 
Lord, nor the servant above his master." That was just 
before they went into the meeting for worship. ... I 
asked Lucretia if she would go to a friend's to-day to din- 
ner ; she said they felt best satisfied just to go back to 
their lodgings. She then further said to me, with tears, 
" It constantly runs through my mind, ' For Thy sake, I am 
killed all the day long.' " 

Jane Price's son, Isaiah Price, writes concerning 
this part of his mother's diary : — 

" The perusal of our mother's letters and her daily rec- 
ord of the feelings attending her mind, as well as her con- 
versation upon her return, attest that her spirit was often 
bowed in sorrow and trial because of the things she was a 
witness unto ; and it is evident also, that hers was not al- 



ways a silent travail ; but she has not left us unadvised 
that these intolerant ones were often put under restraint 
and guard by her presence and evident want of sympathy 
with their proceedings. Thus was her discretion justified, 
and made more of a rebuke to the intolerant spirit, than an 
over-zealous opposition in words on her part could possibly 
have proved. And this was the more significant from the 
fact that those with whom her lot was cast principally, 
while in attendance at Indiana Yearly Meeting, were of 
the extreme Orthodox party. Owing to this fact, she had 
less opportunity to manifest her interest and sympathy per- 
sonally by her presence with her friends James and Lucre- 
tia, but she nevertheless was enabled to impart the feeling 
of her heart and mind, and sometimes to give the friendly 
grasp of the hand, and the cordial word of feeling; and 
the writer can now recall the grateful expressions in which 
dear Lucretia has spoken of her sympathy amid the ex- 
periences of adverse feeling and opposition, as manifested 
toward them at that time." 

During this visit to Richmond there was shown a re- 
markable instance of bigotry and intolerance; an ex- 
ample of the bitterness of party spirit such as is sel- 
dom seen. It is the hospitable custom among Friends, 
on the occasion of any large gathering in the cities 
where they reside, to invite the strangers who attend 
the meetings to their homes, particularly between the 
morning and afternoon sessions. In this way, and in 
company with many others, James and Lucretia Mott 
were invited to dine by a Friend, whose husband 
was a physician of standing, and an active member 
of the Society. Lucretia Mott had been indisposed 
for several days, and at times had suffered acutely 
from neuralgia. During the visit she was seized 
with an unusually severe attack, and the physician 
was asked to try to relieve her. It is incredible, in 



this day, that the dictates of common humanity could 
resist such an appeal. Turning from her, the doctor 
said, " Lucretia, I am so deeply afflicted by thy re- 
bellious spirit, that I do not feel that I can prescribe 
for thee." Whereupon James Mott remarked, " It 
is evident, my dear, that we are not wanted here ; 
I think we should feel more comfortable in our own 
lodgings ; " and together they left the house. Such 
treatment wounded more deeply than was ever ac- 
. knowledged. In her public ministry, the brave spirit 
showed no sign of pain, but in the seclusion of home, 
it was affecting to see, as it is grievous to remember, 
the suffering she endured. Her health became seri- 
ously impaired by the severe attacks of dyspepsia 
that were sure to follow seasons of mental distress. 
Yet, notwithstanding the trials she experienced, her 
life at this period was by no means unhappy ; on the 
contrary, it was happier than that of most women. 
This was owing partly to her own natural cheerful- 
ness, her conscious rectitude, and her unwavering 
faith in the triumph of moral principle ; but more 
than all, to the never-failing support of a congenial 
home. Here was a " refuge in times of trouble " 
where she " dwelt in safety " in the love of husband 
and children. 

She also found support in the knowledge that her 
opponents, although " weighty members " of the So- 
ciety of Friends, were still its smallest portion ; and 
that if the issue should arise, they were hardly strong 
enough to carry out their hostile measures of cen- 
sure and disownment ; and more than this, that a 
large number of the younger Friends would resist 
any attempt to deprive her of those rights and privi- 
leges which had been bestowed on her in former 



days. These did not wholly agree with her, nor were 
they always prepared to sustain her cause openly, 
but neither were they willing to see her cast out 
from among them. In the hard battle that she 
fought, even this unavowed sympathy served as en- 
couragement. Her course was made more difficult 
to herself, and more unpalatable to Friends, by the 
open interest that she and her husband evinced in 
various unpopular movements of the day, besides 
abolition. Of this she said, in the autobiographical 
sketch before alluded to, " The misrepresentation, 
ridicule, and abuse heaped upon these reforms do 
not in the least deter me from my duty. To those 
whose name is cast out as evil for the truth's sake, 
it is a small thing to be judged of man's judgment." 
One of these reforms was the Anti-Sabbath move- 
ment. When its advocates issued a call to consider 
the subject, James and Lucretia Mott responded by 
signing their names, and promising to attend the 
convention. Referring to this, and also to their so- 
journ together in Ohio the year before, he having 
lectured there at the same time, William Lloyd Gar- 
rison wrote them the following letter : — 

Boston, Jan. 10th, 1848. 

James and Lucretia Mott : 

Dear Friends, — In allowing your names to be ap- 
pended to the call for an Anti-Sabbath convention, you 
have gratified many of your friends here, and given fresh 
evidence of your possessing true moral courage. In the 
course of a few days, our list of signers will be completed, 
and then the call will be printed in a circular form, and 
also in the " Liberator." 

Please hand the accompanying leaves to dear Edward 
M. Davis. I am glad that you have so worthy a son-in- 



law, who, I dare say, seems every day more like a son in- 
deed. Long may he be spared to aid and bless suffering 
humanity. . . . 

I shall long remember our pleasant interviews in Ohio 
with unalloyed satisfaction. I marvel that Lucretia did 
not utterly break down under the pressure of her public 
labors. Aside from my severe illness at Cleveland, I re- 
joice that I was permitted to visit Ohio, and hope that my 
labors were not wholly in vain. Yours, Lucretia, I am 
sure were not. 

How I wish you lived no further off than the next street 
— or better yet, the next door ! I long to commune with 
you both, face to face, from day to day. How will it be 
with us in the Spirit Land? Will time and space be an- 
nihilated ? 

Helen sends her loving remembrances. No one esteems 
you more highly, than 

Your attached friend, Wm. Lloyd Garrison. 

About the same time, Mr. Garrison published an 
editorial in the " Liberator," giving an account of a 
conversation between him and Lucretia Mott on the 
value of traditional belief, as follows : ■ — 

" If my mind has become liberalized in any degree (and 
I think it has burst every sectarian trammel), — if the the- 
ological dogmas which I once regarded as essential to 
Christianity, I now repudiate as absurd and pernicious, — 
I am largely indebted to James and Lucretia Mott for the 
change. I recollect on one occasion, when my reverence 
for the Bible as an inspired volume, from Genesis to Rev- 
elation, was such that I was killed by the letter, entering 
into conversation with Lucretia on the subject of war, I 
was startled, not to say shocked, on hearing the declaration 
from her lips, that she did not believe God ever authorized 
or sanctioned war, in any age or nation. Not that I had 
any doubt as to the prohibition of all war in the New Tes- 



tament, but I had never thought of questioning the integ- 
rity of the Jewish record. ' How do you dispose of the 
statements made iu the Old Testament/ I asked, ' that the 
Lord commanded Moses, Joshua, and others, to wage even 
wars of extermination ? ' 'I can more easily believe that 
man is fallible, than that God is changeable,' was her 
reply. In this reply, so full of good sense and true wis- 
dom, I have since found an easy solution of many Scrip- 
tural difficulties, and, instead of being any longer ' killed 
by the letter,' have been ' made alive by the spirit.' " 

In accordance with her promise, Lucretia Mott at- 
tended the Anti-Sabbath convention, held in Boston 
March 23d and 24th, 1848, and spoke several times 
during its sessions. As usual, her remarks were en- 
tirely extemporaneous. The extracts given in the 
Appendix are taken from the official report of the 
meeting. 1 For a better understanding of them, it 
may be well to state that the convention was called 
to " Advance the cause of a true Christianity, to 
promote true and acceptable worship, and to incul- 
cate strict moral and religious accountability, in all 
the concerns of life, on all days of the week alike" 

1 Appendix, p. 479. 


When Lucretia Mott and her associates were re- 
fused admission as delegates to the World's Conven- 
tion in London, in 1840, solely on account of their 
sex, she was brought for the first time face to face 
with the reality of the subjection of women. In the 
Society of Friends she had been accustomed to see 
all the members valued more for their individual mer- 
its than for the accident of sex ; and when she had 
begun to preach, it was not because of any privilege 
granted by 44 men-friends," but because of the gift 
that cometh from above, and is free to all. 

As we have seen, she met this trial with unruffled 
calmness, but the indignity, not so much to her, as 
to all womankind, sank deep into her heart ; and she 
resolved to do her best to right this arrogant and 
unreasonable wrong. As she and Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton walked slowly home together, at the end 
of the first day's session, talking over its exciting 
events, they agreed to call a Woman's Rights Con- 
vention on their return to America, as the first step 
towards a general movement. Although several 
years elapsed before this plan could be carried out, 
much faithful preparatory work was accomplished in 
the mean time. Foremost in this was the training 
which the anti - slavery cause afforded women. It 
was impossible for them to labor so energetically for 
the freedom of the slave, without coming to a new 



sense of their own disabilities, and at least desiring 
for themselves the justice they claimed for others. 
The abolitionists, in this way, taught better than 
they knew. 

In the summer of 1848, Lucretia Mott went to 
western New York to attend the Yearly Meeting of 
Friends at Waterloo, and at the same time to visit 
her sister, Martha C. Wright, of Auburn, N. Y. 
Here she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton again, the 
first time for several years, and they at once revived 
the resolution formed in London eight years before. 
Around the tea-table of a mutual friend, these two, 
with Martha C. Wright, and their friend Mary Ann 
McClintock, discussed the question of woman's rights 
in all its bearings, and decided that the time to hold 
a convention had come. That same evening, the fol- 
lowing call was sent to the " Seneca County Cou- 
rier," a semi- weekly journal, in whose issue of July 
14th it appeared : — 


Woman's Rights Convention. — A Convention to 
discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights 
of women, will he held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca 
Falls, N. Y., on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19 th and 
20 th of July, current, commencing at 10 o'clock A. m. Dur- 
ing the first clay, the meeting will be exclusively for 
women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public 
generally are invited to be present on the second day, when 
Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gen- 
tlemen, will address the Convention. 

Although, as stated in the call, it was originally 
intended that women only should be admitted on the 
first day, yet so many men presented themselves at 


the chapel door at the time of opening, and mani- 
fested such genuine interest in the object of the meet- 
ing, that the committee concluded, in a hasty council, 
to allow them to remain, and to make them useful. 
Women, be it remembered, had then had very little 
experience in organizing and conducting meetings, 
and shrank from the responsibility of so doing, in a 
cause where a successful beginning might be so im- 
portant. Accordingly, James Mott, " tall and digni- 
fied, in Quaker costume," was called to the chair, and 
Mary McClintock was appointed secretary. Lucretia 
Mott, as the one most accustomed to public speaking, 
made the opening statement of the objects of the 
convention, and was followed by carefully prepared 
speeches from Elizabeth and Mary McClintock, Mrs. 
Stanton, Mrs. Wright, and others. The Declaration 
of Sentiments, drawn up on the model of the Decla- 
ration of 1776, by the same four women who wrote 
the call, was freely discussed, and after some slight 
amendments, adopted. The convention continued, 
"with unabated interest, throughout two days and 
evenings. It is interesting to find that this first fore- 
runner of so many others, demanded in its Declara- 
tion and resolutions all that the most radical friends 
of the movement have since claimed. It brought 
upon its brave members a storm of denunciation 
from the pulpit, and unsparing ridicule from the 
press ; but it also called forth a cheering response 
from women in all parts of the country who had 
needed only the encouragement of a beginning, to 
find the spirit to step forward themselves. Other 
conventions followed soon after in various parts of 
New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Penn- 
sylvania, and that advance began, whereof the end is 
not yet. 



It is unnecessary to give here, what has been given 
so well elsewhere, — a detailed account of the prog- 
ress of this movement. It is sufficient to say that 
James and Lucretia Mott gave it generous assistance, 
both in time and money, and that they felt a livelier, 
interest during the years of its early development 
than in its later subdivisions ; just as they always 
preferred the original name of Woman's Rights to 
any of its numerous successors. 

As no adequate record of the various addresses 
made by Lucretia Mott at the different conventions 
of twenty years can be attempted, it is thought best 
to present instead, as a general statement of her 
views on this question, her Discourse on Woman, 
published in 1849, which may be found in the Ap- 
pendix. 1 It was delivered in answer to a lecture 
given in Philadelphia by Mr. Richard H. Dana, of 
Boston, on what he considered the proper sphere of 
woman, as opposed to her new claims, which he ridi- 
culed liberally. Lucretia Mott was one of the audi- 
ence. The lecture seemed so petty and unworthy a 
view of a serious subject, and, coming from such a 
source, so pernicious in its influence, that she felt im- 
pelled to answer it, and, as far as possible, correct its 
mis-statements. This she did, on the 17 th of 12 th 
month, in the hall of the Assembly Buildings, before 
as choice an audience as the one that had listened 
to Mr. Dana. The phonographic report was after- 
wards submitted to her for revision, and a limited 
number printed in pamphlet form. Twenty years 
after, it was reprinted, at the request of an English 
lady who wished to circulate it in England. 

This discourse has generally been considered one 
of her best ; but none read as they sounded when 



she delivered them. She never made notes, even 
when she knew beforehand the points npon which 
she wished to dwell, but trusted instead to her 
good memory. Generally, however, her addresses 
were not premeditated ; they were what the " spirit 
moved" her to say. This way of speaking, among 
Friends, often leads to an inconsequent and rather 
rambling manner. Lucretia Mott was never illog- 
ical, and seldom rambling, until, perhaps, in her ex- 
treme old age, but no one can read the reports of 
her sermons without feeling how far short they fall 
of that excellence, with which the charm of her man- 
ner and voice invested them. Some of the best, 
given in times of real inspiration, were never printed ; 
for they were spoken in the religious meetings of 
Friends, where the presence of a reporter would be 
considered unseemly. They exist only in loving 
memories. The few that have been printed can give 
very little idea of her eloquence and fervor, to those 
who have never heard her. What Emerson wrote 
of Dr. Channing applies equally well to her : " He 
possesses the mysterious endowment of natural elo- 
quence, whose effect, however intense, is limited of 
course to personal communication. I can see myself 
that his writings, without his voice, may be meagre 
and feeble." 

At this period of the life of Lucretia Mott, her 
correspondence was quite voluminous. The follow- 
ing letters have been selected as representative : — 

Phila., 9th mo. 10th, 1848. 

My loved Friends, Richard D. Webb and others, 
— I want to write to you all, but time only allows this. 
Is it possible that more than a year has passed since we 



have corresponded? In that time we have received a 
large parcel of pamphlets and publications from dear 
James Haughton, for which we have not even sent our 
acknowledgments or thanks. Not because we did not value 
them. He may like to know, however, that we divided and 
sub-divided his treasure, and mean to do all the good we 
can with them. It is our practice to furnish ourselves with 
reform papers, whenever we go from home, (which is very 
often !) and scatter them abroad. Thousands of anti- 
slavery papers have we thus distributed. We never suf- 
fer a moral paper to be torn or wasted. There are political 
productions enough to supply the world with waste paper. 
Part of my preaching at anti-slavery m gs is the divine mis-' 
sion of scattering tracts. How much have abolitionists 
done by this means, as well as by the living agent ! Had 
we been told that the. Church and the world would be so 
thoroughly aroused or agitated in less than twenty years, 
we should have " thanked God and taken courage," and 
" gone on rejoicing." 

I think Richard is the best delineator of character I 
ever met with. His remarks on Elihu Burritt, and of 
other of our American travelers, were as a painting to the 
life. Perhaps he was rather severe upon poor O'Connell, 
being less of a repealer than he ; but we were glad of that 
opinion of him, embracing so much. His appreciation of 
W. L. Garrison, " through good and evil report," always 
pleases me. And did n't I rejoice after reading Blanco 
White, that we saw so exactly eye to eye, in regard to 
him? It certainly was the most interesting work of the 
kind I ever read. It has not been reprinted here, for 
it is more anti-sectarian than Unitarians can bear, and 
more religious or devotional than Infidels would respond 
to (if there are any such, which I sometimes doubt) ; so 
we stand no chance of a wide circulation of that " holy 
book." I am lending our copy constantly. Eliza Lee 
Follen was as enthusiastic in her appreciation of it, after 



reading it, as I have been. When you meet with any- 
thing else you like, do recommend it. Not fiction, we 
have enough of that sort ; even though it be from Dick- 
ens' pen, or by the author of Jane Eyre. I only know 
these works from hearing their praises sung by others. 
My reading time is nearly all occupied with Garrison's ex- 
cellent editorials, and the other anti-slavery papers ; and 
with glances occasionally through the peace and temper- 
ance papers ; and of late the political world has furnished 
reading of absorbing interest ; and last, not least, the cause 
of woman is occupying me. 

Super-added is a sprinkling of Quaker gossip, divisions 
and sub-divisions, printing and publishing, as twenty years 
ago ; letters innumerable, and visits to Ohio and Indiana 
last year, and to Genesee Yearly M s this year, including 
trips of a few hundred, or a thousand miles, to the Indians 
and Negroes in Canada. With all this traveling, and 
reading, and writing, I find time to " darn the stockings," 
and attend somewhat to a family numbering from ten to 
twenty every day ; for though all our children, save Mar- 
tha, the youngest, have married and left us, yet they and 
their children (nine now) are coming constantly. All be- 
ing out of the city boarding for the summer, ours is a gen- 
eral rendezvous for the husbands to come to dine, and with 
other company, not a few, we often count thirty a day, 
including our own family. We are still blest with the 
u staff of life a' plenty," and it is our pleasure thus to enjoy 
the fleeting hours. 

Three Yearly Meetings will be formed this fall, on rad- 
ical principles, doing away with " Select M gs ," and ordain- 
ing ministers ; men and women on entire equality, which 
is not the case now, by any means ; some will remove all 
partitions, and transact business together, and admit such 
of their sedate neighbors as incline to sit with them ; and 
many other like things ; to the great grief of the sticklers 
for the " oldness of the letter." Another Meeting is in 



contemplation in the Western part of our and Baltimore 
Yearly M gs , to unite over the mountains. They have pro- 
posed this, these five or six years, and if our M g stiffly op- 
pose it much longer, through John Comly's influence mainly, 
they, too, may declare independence, as the others have 
done. What a wonderful breaking up there is among 
sects ! Gurneyites and Wilburites are found wherever Or- 
thodox Friends are; the difference being, as said by a 
looker-on, " one party says, sanctification comes before jus- 
tification ; the other, justification comes before sanctifica- 
tion." Are you at all interested ? How is it with our or- 
thodox friends Richard and Anne Allen ? Are they too 
rich to be other than conservative ? I have a kind of 
godly jealousy of them ! James Haughton is rich also, 
but he is radical enough. I have just filled a sheet to 
George Combe — almost as trifling as this ; it is more than 
a year since I wrote to him last. He sends us his new 
productions, which we continue to read with interest. His 
" Constitution of Man " broke the spell of superstition. 
Now it is regarded of more importance to act out a princi- 
ple and observe a law, than to believe a miracle, or assent 
to mysteries, as means of salvation. 

My paper is full. It is past midnight. This mite of a 
margin must contain my aboundings of love, and my auto- 

Phil., 11th mo. 14th, 1848. 

My dear Friend, George W. Julian, — I will not 
attempt to make excuses or apologies for the seeming neg- 
lect of thy acceptable and frank letter, received (I can 
hardly believe it) nearly a year ago. That I have not 
been unmindful of its interesting contents thou mayst be 
assured when I tell thee, that early after reading it, I went 
to our friend, Wm. H. Furness, and consulted him as to the 
works most likely to meet thy wants. I thought he might 
have some pamphlets, or small publication which he could 
furnish to lend thee. He made no offer of any, however, 



except a large work of Prof. Norton's on the Prophecies. 
I had doubts of the propriety of borrowing a book to be 
sent so far. There is no Unitarian book store here, where 
their tracts can be procured, and the larger books are more 
expensive, I presume, than thou art aware of. 

Theodore Parker has published an elaborate work on the 
Old Testament, the result of much research in the old lan- 
guages, as well as in German and French. It exposes many- 
errors and false prophecies, and clears some mysteries 
which have equally taxed the veneration of the believer. 
His boldness has driven some of the Unitarians of the 
older school back to the " weak and beggarly elements." 
Prof. Norton is ready to disclaim his own productions, or 
rather to doubt the expediency of circulating them now. 

Wm. H. Charming was with us last winter. I handed 
him thy letter, requesting his opinion. He said there were 
no truly good works in English on the Prophecies and In- 
spiration. The best that can be easily found are Palfrey's 
" Lectures on the Old Testament," and parts of Norton's 
work on the genuineness and authenticity of the Gospels. 
There are two translations from the German and French, 
which may be found in Boston : " Introduction to the Old 
Testament," from Dr. Welte (?), by Theodore Parker, and 
a work from the French, by some German, I think, " On 
the Inspiration of the Scriptures." Has your friend ever 
seen W. H. Furness' book, the " Life of Jesus " ? This 
might help to answer his difficulties. 

All these books are unfortunately somewhat expensive. 
There are, I believe, some Unitarian tracts on the subject. 
If I recollect right, Furness' book was on thy table, when 
we were at your house. That visit is oft recurred to with 
interest and pleasure, and I regret to appear so unmindful 
of your kind hospitalities, as to suffer thy letter to lie so 
long unanswered. 

I herewith send a few tracts and small works, some 
of which may prove altogether too radical for thy in- 



quiring mind. That there have been gross impositions 
practiced upon the believer, the all too credulous, must be 
acknowledged. Now that skepticism as to the theology of 
the schools has become somewhat a duty, free-thinkers may 
go to the other extreme, and fail to award to the Scriptures 
all the beautiful and blessed instruction they contain. I 
have for some years accustomed myself to read and exam- 
ine them as I would any other book, as nearly as early edu- 
cation and veneration would permit. I have now no diffi- 
culty in deciding upon the human and ignorant origin of 
such parts as conflict with the known and eternal laws of 
Deity in the physical creation, be the claim to the miracu- 
lous ever so high, and the assumption of the pathetic and 
God-inspired ever so strong. Still less, if possible, do I 
waver, when any violation of the divine and eternal law 
of right, such as murder in any of its forms, slavery in 
any of its degrees, or priestcraft in its various phases, as 
palmed upon the religious world, is declared to be " Thus 
saith the Lord." It is impossible by any theological inge- 
nuity to reconcile the moral codes of the Old and New Tes- 
taments, as proceeding from Him who is " without variable- 
ness or shadow of turning." Far safer, therefore, is it to 
admit man to be fallible, than to judge God to be change- 
able. The popular system of faith is fast yielding to a 
more enlightened philosophy. Of latter time, many of the 
advocates of that system are beginning to receive Dr. Chan- 
ning's views, and really to regard him quite orthodox. As 
light advances, no difficulty will be found to mould the 
Bible, that convenient creed-book, to the present pattern, 
shown in the Sermon on the Mount. 

The life of Dr. Channing, just published by his nephew, 
Wm. H. Channing, is most interesting. I presume it may 
be found in Cincinnati. I do not remember whether I 
spoke of the life of Joseph Blanco White, when with you. 
I have read it with deep interest. . . . The result of his 
Bible examinations would suit thee, I doubt not. The 
book has not been reprinted yet in this country. The 



English is seven dollars a copy, — three vols. We have a 
copy, which is now lent out. If thou would like the loan 
of it at some future time, I would gladly send it to thee 
by some safe conveyance, to be soon returned, as it is in 
demand, the few copies sent over being all bought up. 
. . . He is my favorite author. 

The agitations and commotions of religious sects are 
among the interesting signs of the times. Our Quaker 
quietude is again disturbed, and both Orthodox and Hicks- 
ite are on the eve of another separation. Several conven- 
tions and new Yearly M gs are being held. Michigan, West- 
ern New York, and Green Plain, Ohio, are all coming out 
with a broader platform. We have received the " pro- 
ceedings " of Farmington, New York, which I will send 
as a sample of a broad " basis." Thos. McClintock is 
the writer of that document. About two hundred persons 
adopted it. The high-handed measures of those in power 
must eventually open the eyes of the people to the im- 
propriety and danger of conferring such power on our fel- 
low-mortals. The congregational form of religious associ- 
ation will ultimately prevail, as man comes to understand 
Christian liberty. 

In the political world, also, there seems to be a strong 
tendency toward the breaking up of old parties. In one 
view, and a discouraging one it is, a military despotism 
seems to threaten the country. But the discerner of the 
signs of the times, with large hope, sees republican and 
true democratic principles on the advance; the rights of 
man being recognized to a greater extent, and the spirit of 
peace and universal freedom rising toward the ascendant. 
Let us all do our duty to accelerate the speed of these 
principles. . . . 

I know not that thy inquiring mind can be easily satis- 
fied ; but such as I can offer, at any time, shall be at thy 

My husband unites in kind regards to thee and thine. 
Sincerely thy friend, Lucretia Mott. 



The next letter is a family sheet, written to her 
sister, Martha C. Wright, giving an account, among 
other things, of her preparations for the guests that 
were always expected in Philadelphia by the abo- 
litionists, at the time of their annual anti-slavery 
Fair. This presents a vivid picture of her house- 
wifely accomplishments. 

12th mo., 1848. 

... If I did not iron twelve shirts, like cousin Mary, I 
had forty other things which I accomplished ; for we had a 
large wash, and hurried to get the ironing away before the 
people flocked in. Five came just before dinner. I pre- 
pared mince for forty pies, doing every part myself, even 
to meat chopping; picked over lots of apples, stewed a 
quantity, chopped some more, and made apple pudding ; all 
of which kept me on my feet till almost two o'c, having to 
come into the parlor every now and then to receive guests. 
Now I should rest, as I sit and write after dinner, with all 

gone to the Assembly Buildings, if had n't thought 

best to remain and be agreeable / .... I am sorry thou 
missed hearing Samuel J. May. How can sectarians speak 
of sermons such as his, as no gospel ! How lamentable that 
such is the religious idea! . . . Have I mentioned what a 
large appointed meeting I had two weeks ago at Cherry 
St., and that the Elders would not give notice ? The house 
was crowded nevertheless. The medical students, some of 
them, have asked me to have a meeting for them. . . . 

This meeting for the medical students was held 
one First-day evening of the following Second month, 
in Cherry St. meeting-house. The congregation was 
large and attentive, as a rule, although, as she said 
in a letter to a friend, " When I pressed the subject 
of slavery upon their attention, some twenty or thirty 
rose to go out. Part of this number halted at the 

w * J, 


door, and remained to the close, and a quieter and 
more attentive audience I have not often had." 


Phila., 3rd mo. 28th, 1849. 
My dear Joseph and Ruth, — ... We have a 
friend now staying with us, a Unitarian, one of Heaven's 
own, — Samuel J. May, of Syracuse, N. Y. You probably 
know him as conspicuous in the early anti-slavery move- 
ments, as well as in the non-resistant conventions. He is 
an advocate for woman too ; it is fitting, therefore, that this 
should be his stopping place. We are trying to get up an 
anti-slavery meeting for him, but difficulty still attends the 
procuring of a suitable room. ... I must tell you what an 
exciting fugitive case we had last week. A citizen of Rich- 
mond, Va.. called at the office and told Miller McKim and 
Cyrus Burleigh, that a slave in that city was meditating 
his escape by being placed in a box, as goods, to be sent by 
Adams' Express. He was told of the great danger of suf- 
focation, as well as the risk of detection, but was not de- 
terred. After some delays, a telegraph at length apprised 
Miller of his approach. The box was received at the de- 
pot, more carefully handled than it had been before, and 
safely deposited at the A. S. office, when a trembling tap, 
and "All right?" from Miller, was responded to by "All 
right, sir!" from the pent-up man. The lid was removed as 
quickly as the hoops could be loosened, when he rose, with 
a " Good morning, gentlemen ! " Miller says we can hardly 
conceive the relief and excitement to find the man alive, 
and the poor fellow's happiness and gratitude ; he sang a 
hymn of praise. He is a large man, weighing nearly two 
hundred pounds, and was incased in a box two feet long, 
twenty three inches wide, and three feet high, in a sitting 
posture ! He was provided with a few crackers, and a blad- 
der filled with water, which would make no noise in being 
turned over, nor yet be liable to be broken ; he however 



ate none, as it would have made him thirsty, and he needed 
all the water to bathe his head, after the rough turns over, 
in which he sometimes rested for miles on his head and 
shoulders, when it would seem as if the veins would burst. 
He fanned himself almost constantly with his hat, and 
bored holes for fresh breathing air, with a gimlet or small 
auger furnished him. The cracks of the box had canvas 
over, to prevent any inspection, and to appear like goods. 
Dr. Noble says, if he had been consulted, he should have 
said it would be impossible for the man to be shut up and 
live twenty-four hours, the time it took to reach here ; it 
was fanning so much, which kept the exhausted air in mo- 
tion and gave place to fresh. Miller took him home, gave 
him his breakfast and a bath, and then he was conducted 
here, where he gave us his history. His master is a sick 
man, and employs an overseer, heartless, as such generally 
are. He was never whipped however. He was employed 
twisting tobacco, and yielded his master two hundred dol- 
lars, or more, per year. He had a wife and three children 
sold from him a year ago, after their owner (not his mas- 
ter) had promised to let him purchase them ; a higher offer 
inducing him to sell them. This almost broke his heart ; 
and from that time he resolved on obtaining his own free- 
dom ; and having no family to provide for, he laid by 
enough to hire a white man to undertake his removal in 
the box. One colored man was in the secret, and assisted ; 
these were all who knew it in Richmond. He had a sore 
finger, and applied oil of vitriol to make it worse, in order 
to get leave of absence for a few days, so that he would 
not be missed until Second-day, and he was safely here the 
Seventh-day before. After resting First-day, he was sent 
on east. We hope the case will not be published, for a 
while at least. His wife and children are now held by a 
Methodist minister in North Carolina; he has heard from 
them two or three times. This, and the Crafts case, as 
well as Isaac Brown's and others not a few, will tell well 
in history some time hence. . . . 



Phila., 1st mo. 15th, 1849. 
My dear Friend, James L. Pierce, — The new year 
has actually come in, before an answer is sent to thy 
friendly and inquiring letter, received so many months ago. 
What apology can I make ? The reason, in this instance, 
is a kind of instinctive dread of entering the theological 
field. So many entanglements are found there, that the 
ignorant may be drawn into a labyrinth of inextricable 
windings, or ever he is aware of the leadings of astute 
polemics. Preferring, therefore, to walk in "the way 
called heresy," I am not troubled with the difficulties that 
beset many an honest traveler in his attempt, with the 
only admitted implement or weapon, the Bible, to smooth 
this field and " make straight in the desert a high way for 
our God." 

During our struggle against sectarian encroachment 
some twenty years since, I gave much time to the exami- 
nation of the tenets then imposed ; and often found, in 
comparing Scripture texts with the context, a construction 
very different from the admitted idea of the Trinity and 
atonement. What constituted the Divinity of Christ be- 
came at that time so plain, that no doubt has since inter- 
posed to weaken a faith so rational. Some of the writings 
of Channing and other Unitarians, as well as parts of Wm. 
Perm's works, and other of our early Quakers, tended to 
confirm me. There always appeared, however, too strong 
a desire to bring the Bible into harmony with ultra, or rad- 
ical views ; hence a twisting or perverting of the text was 
often resorted to ; and conflicting opinions could not thus 
be satisfactorily settled. 

When Elisha Bates left our Society and joined the Meth- 
odists, he published a -defense of the ordinances, claiming 
apostolic example as his sufficient authority. I then saw 
that if he was correct in his claim, his positions could not 
be easily refuted. This led to a reexamination of Scrip- 
ture rule, resulting in the settled conviction that the " faith 



and practice " of the ancients, either Jews or Gentiles, 
were not authority for succeeding generations. Neither 
have I found any such claim on their part ; but rather a 
constant direction of the upward and onward intelligence 
from " the oldness of the letter to the newness of the 

The teachings of Jesus were altogether to this point. 
When he said, " Ye have heard that it was said by them 
of old time . . . but I say unto you," ... he called in 
question many things which were claimed as of Divine 
authority ; such as war, oaths, etc. His practice, too, was 
to do good on the Sabbath day ; to refuse compliance with 
the " washing of hands," showing that " the kingdom of 
God cometh not by observation" (observances), but that 
practical righteousness is the certain touchstone. While 
people can justify war, slavery, an oppressive priesthood, 
and other evils that afflict and crush humanity, by an ap- 
peal to patriarchal example, or to any Bible authority, the 
progress of reform must be greatly impeded. So, also, 
while the ancient faith in " sacrifices and offerings " in 
propitiation for sin through the mediation of the priest, is 
superstitiously adhered to, or any substitute or antitype of 
these Jewish ceremonies admitted, — either as explained 
by Paul or any other Jewish convert, — the way of salva- 
tion will be rendered difficult, and to many appear impas- 
sable for others, if not for themselves. An enlightened 
and intelligent reading of the Scriptures must lead to the 
renouncing of faiths and worships, which, however suited 
to by-gone ages, are not adapted to the wants of the pres- 
ent time. Obedience to known duty, repentance for dis- 
obedience, and amendment of life, are the general teach- 
ings of the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. 

Thou speaks of thy controversies with opponents, and 
by proper reference to text and context, coming off victor, 
having truth on thy side. This must ever be the case, for 
as in the decision of the Apocryphal story, " truth beareth 


away the victory, therefore great is the truth, and stronger 
than all things." 

It is proper, however, while the Bible is regarded as the 
ultimate appeal in all matters of religious controversy, to 
show that the bold, figurative language of that book will 
bear a liberal construction, and should be taken in its most 
spiritual sense. Jesus certainly spoke metaphorically when 
he directed his disciples and the Jewish worshipers at the 
feast, to Ms flesh and his blood. Also, on another notable 
day, " whoso drinketh of me," etc., his baptism was likened 
to fire, as well as water ; his life or spirit in the soul, to 
blood, as well as to water at Samaria's well. 

Great allowances should be made for the passages, quoted 
by thee, touching his death as an atonement. He made 
no allusion to its necessity for that end. The passage, " I 
lay down my life," will bear a spiritual construction. That 
man did take his natural life from him, is clearly proven in 
the account. And even if he referred to that, he may have 
meant no more than every martyr might have said, or than 
might have been said of them in one sense : that they died 
for the redemption of man. The Apostle John says, "As 
he laid down his life for us, we ought to lay down our lives 
for the brethren." Then again : the writers of the epistles, 
Jewish converts, were so conversant with sacrifices for sin, 
that they might easily persuade themselves that the crucifix- 
ion of Jesus was for that purpose. Rammohun Roy, and 
other Biblical critics show a very different meaning in some 
of the prophecies, usually quoted as applicable to the birth 
and death of Jesus, the propitiation, etc. Again, the prob- 
ability of interpolation, to suit the "scheme of salvation 
and plan of redemption," by those employed to give to the 
Christian world this canon, should lead to large allowances 
n for contradictory texts. The " three that bear record in 
Heaven " is now generally admitted to be spurious ; and 
others, I doubt not, might be, with equal propriety. Then, 
as thou says, some of these passages prove too much, and 



lead to speculation as to universal salvation. If the spiri- 
tual interpretation cannot be received so as to modify or 
qualify these quotations of thine, I should consider it far 
safer to reject them altogether, and stand on the broad 
ground of heresy, than, by seeming to yield, to aid in perpet- 
uating gross superstition and error. That the crucifixion of 
Jesus was a fearful tragedy must be admitted ; but that the 
ferocity and malignity of the sectarians of that day, who 
committed the barbarous act, was " unparalleled," I am not 
so sure of. Those who were " stoned, sawn asunder," etc., 
were doubtless victims of precisely the same spirit. Eccle- 
siastical history records the martyrdom of thousands upon 
thousands, who were the objects of similar priestly hate and 
bigotry. I never like to see the Jews pictured with so 
dark and malignant a countenance, as sinners above all 
men. Let Catholic and Protestant persecutors be placed 
in the same category — aye, and dissenters, too, who, in 
their zeal, are calling down fire from Heaven, be they of 
the old Puritan order, or belonging to the more modern 
Hicksite profession. Even though the custom of the times 
will not sanction the erection of the cross, or the gallows, 
nor yet other instruments of torture, — blessed be the age 
in which we live ! — yet the disposition to cast out the 
name as evil, to persecute with the pen and the tongue, 
and by church excommunication, is still as apparent, as 
when brother delivered up brother unto death. See the 
last issue from Indiana Yearly Meeting. It is, however, a 
small thing to be judged of man's judgment. " Eather 
forgive them ; they know not what they do," may be at- 
tained to, toward all these. 

Thou asks my opinion of the disposition of the body of 
Jesus, as well as of others said to be translated. I confess 
to great skepticism as to any account or story, which con- 
flicts with the unvarying natural laws of God in his crea- 
tion. The credulity displayed in the account of the Evan- 
gelists, and other sacred (?) writers, is the natural accom- 



paniment of ignorance and the more childish state of soci- 
ety. That there is moral as well as animal magnetism, 
not yet fully developed, I cannot doubt ; which, when 
better understood, will explain much of the alleged miracu- 
lous. I have no idea that flesh and blood ever entered the 
kingdom of Heaven. As to a locality, beyond that within 
us, of Heaven or its opposite state, 1 am not troubled with 
any conjectures; resting satisfied with the Apostle, that 
" it doth not yet appear what we shall be." 

These answers may be far from satisfactory to thy inquir- 
ing mind, and that of thy wife, who is a stranger to me. The 
reluctance to shock even the religious prejudices of those 
who yet scarcely dare think for themselves, makes me hesi- 
tate to declare views, which conflict with the established or 
prevailing opinions of Christendom. But the error of the 
assumption of human depravity, and a vicarious offering, is 
so fatal to human progress, that 1 should be unfaithful to 
my convictions, did I not attempt to controvert this creed, 
and to hold up truth as of all acceptation, rather than 
" authority for truth." 

I received a letter somewhat similar to thine, about the 
same time, from George W. Julian, of Centreville, Indiana; 
the answer was delayed nearly as long too. We were 
kindly entertained at his house, when in that neighborhood 
last year, and at his request, had an appointed meeting at 
Centreville. He is a Unitarian ; made so by Dr. Chan- 
ning's writings, as well as his own reflections. His diffi- 
culty seemed to be, touching the inspiration of the Old and 
New Testament. " Did God ever sanction war, slavery, 
and other evils ? " The Old and New Testament, he says, 
" represent God as different beings." The prophecies, too, 
perplex him. I could only recommend that to which I 
had attained: namely, to judge of the Scriptures and their 
claim to respect, precisely as he would any other book; 
testing their doctrines and recognized practices by the 
known attributes of our Heavenly Father. An enlight- 



ened writer has said, that " it is not more true that ' God 
created man in his own image,' than that man has created 
God in his image." Thus, we find him enthroned in cru- 
elty and blood, in lust and revenge, in contradiction and 
in gloom. But as the mind and heart come to be alike cul- 
tivated, this savage Deity gives place to a God of love and 
mercy ; of truth and right, of joy and gladness ; and his 
" dear Son " not alone in being the fit representative of the 
Father ; for many are they, who are serving Him in this 

I recommended to G. W. Julian, as I would to thee, 
Theodore Parker's writings ; especially his sermon on 
" The Transient and Permanent in Christianity." Also 
I would recommend, if it can be obtained in your remote 
settlements, " The Life of Joseph Blanco White." He was 
a Spanish priest. His ancestors left Ireland to escape the 
penal laws. The Romish priesthood never suited Blanco's 
mind ; he escaped from Seville, and went to England about 
the year that the Bonapartes entered Spain ; he renounced 
his religion, and became a political editor and translator, 
employed by the Government, devoting part of his time 
to literary pursuits ; corresponded with Southey, Lord 
Holland, Coleridge, and others. On a reexamination of 
Christian doctrine, he embraced the faith of the Church of 
England ; studied for the ministry at Oxford ; was intimate 
with Newman and Pusey at the beginning of the high 
church dissensions. He only once, I think, preached in 
an English pulpit, for his mind could not rest satisfied 
with the church liturgy, any more than with the Romish 
breviary. He became the intimate friend of the learned 
Bishop Whately, accepting an invitation to his palace in 
Dublin, where he remained till his views became so liberal, 
that he was unwilling to compromise the archbishop's char- 
acter for orthodoxy, by any longer stay ; so he went over 
to Liverpool, where the latter years of his life were passed, 
in much suffering from illness, in which he lost the use of 



his limbs. He was eventually invited to Wm. Rathbone's 
place, near Liverpool, where he died in 1842. He was 
sixty years old when he first entered a dissenting place of 
worship ; he then heard James Martineau of Liverpool, a 
Unitarian, brother to Harriet M. ; after which he frequently 
heard J. II. Thorn — a s%n-in-law of Wm. Rathbone — also 
a Unitarian, to whom he left his library and his papers ; 
depending upon him to prepare his autobiography for pub- 
lication ; which Thorn appears faithfully to have done, 
even though Blanco White went further than himself and 
most Unitarians in his pursuit after truth ; rejecting a faith 
in miracles as necessary to constitute the Christian. He 
corresponded with Channing, Norton, and Ripley, on these 
subjects; the inspiration of the Scriptures; priesthood; 
the humanity of Jesus ; " conscientious reason," a favorite 
term of his; as well as "the light within us," also an ex- 
pression often used, before he had any knowledge of the 
Quaker writers. The Rathbones, formerly Friends, fur- 
nished him the works of Fox, Barclay, and Woolman, and 
he records a just tribute to these worthies ; speaks of their 
remarkable clear-sightedness, as to priesthoods, the Bible 
as an "idolatrous oracle," and the "theories of all Divines 
whatever." " The important fact that Christianity is not 
founded upon a book," he says, " was perceived by George 
Fox, in spite of his enthusiasm." He thinks the Quak- 
ers were misled by their love of the miraculous, which, he 
says, " will be the last mental infirmity that true Chris- 
tianity will conquer." But the rational belief in spiritual 
guidance, in " conscientious reason," or " the voice of God 
in the soul," increased with his years, and he bore many 
beautiful testimonies to its sufficiency. He maintained a 
devotional spirit to his last hour, while for years he " re- 
nounced the (to him) superstitious practice of falling upon 
his knees and formally addressing the Highest, either in 
praise or petition ; yet he was continually in a praying 
state, if (as he conceives) " prayer is a desire of conformity 



to His will." He longed for a society of " unarticled 
Christians." The Unitarians came nearest to it ; but they 
too bad their " external oracles." He wished to " raise his 
feeble voice " for the "mental rights of children," and 
against the " hierarchical principle, which claims their minds 
to be shaped and moulded according to some theological 
model." I might go on and quote from my pet author till 
another sheet was iilled. It is most remarkable that asso- 
ciating almost entirely with orthodox believers, his mind 
should take such a range ; and in spite of the warm affec- 
tions of his nature, that he should hazard the loss of his 
warmest friends, by his honest avowal from time to time 
of his convictions. Channing, although differing from him 
in regard to miracles, said, there was not a man in Eng- 
land whom he so much wished to see. The work is in 
three volumes. If a condensed edition could be printed 
and circulated in this country, it might do much good in 
removing blind superstition and error. 

If in quantity I can make up for delay, this will furnish 
a pretty fair balance of my indebtedness to thee. If, on 
the other hand, it has subjected thee to a tedious infliction, 
tell me so, and I will not impose another closely written 
sheet upon thee. Let me know how much the open 
avowal of my views has shocked, rather than benefited 
thee. I am aware that I have not furnished acceptable 
arguments, or explanations of Scripture, wherewith to 
meet Calviiiistic opponents. This I cannot do ; while I 
really believe that the general tenor of the Bible goes to 
disprove the creed of Trinity, depravity, and atonement 
doctrines, the tendency of which has been and is to para- 
lyze human effort, and almost to license sin. If the belief 
in this creed is essential to salvation, why should Jesus — 
the great teacher, whose mission was to " preach the Gos- 
pel to the poor " — be so silent on the subject ? Many 
who profess his name do not begin to understand " the 
simplicity of the truth as it is in Jesus." 


Be it known unto thee, my dear friend, that I had this 
long letter half written, before J. M. Ellis sent me a short 
extract from thy last, expressive of disappointment at my 
neglect. So give me credit for a free-will offering. Many 
have been the interruptions since I began ; it is now the 
22 nd of the month. 

The movements in the political world give abundant evi- 
dence that abolitionists have not labored in vain. 

With the most sincere regards, thy friend for radical 
truth, Lucretia Mott. 

Philada., 5th mo. 14th, 1849. 

Mr dear Richard and Hannah Webb, — It is long 
since I have had this pleasure — the devotion of a few 
hours to intercourse with you. We have had several let- 
ters from Richard,»most acceptable, but still unacknowl- 
edged. . . . 

He recommended Harriet Martineau's " Eastern Travel." 
We had not then read it, but lost no time in procuring it, 
and now it is passing from one to another in the family, 
who all agree with the just review in his letter. Neither 
her writings, however, nor those of any other Unitarian, 
will be fully appreciated in our day. The reviewers are 
under orthodox influence, and must cater to their taste. 
Even the judgment of the more liberal receives its coloring 
from these sources. " Unhappy Blanco White " is reiter- 
ated by the Unitarians themselves, in that " he found no 
resting-place ; " when the man stood firm on every ad- 
vance tread, finding a happiness with which the stranger 
could not intermeddle. The demand for the reprint of his 
life is limited in this country as yet, but it will appear 
some day, just see if it doesn't ! Our copy is being worn 
out in the lending. 

Since Theodore Parker comes out with such great here- 
sies, the older Unitarians are having credit for being quite 
orthodox. Many of our conservatives are now reading 



Channing's writings with interest, and indeed some are 
claiming him as their own. So true is Theodore Parker's 
remark, that " the heresy of one age is the sound faith and 
orthodoxy of the next." 

The subject of Anti-Slavery has been so abundantly 
treated both in public speaking and writing, that it needs 
now to be presented in some unique form, to attract the 
people. It is well for us that we have Giddings and Hor- 
ace Mann to pour into the awakening nation's ear such 
soul-stirring appeals. Garrison, Phillips, and Abby Kelly 
are still needed as an advance guard (if that is the right 
figure ! I always hesitate in military similes). 

Our annual m g in New York was not less interesting 
than usual. You will see by the reports that Pillsbury 
and Phillips handled the church and clergy not less se- 
verely than in former years. Lucy Stone is an acquisition 
to our ranks. She is also a thorough woman's - rights 
woman. We had a good meeting on that subject while she 
was in this city. 

I meant to say, while on the church question, that I read 
with interest the " come-out " of N. Travers, at Finsbury 
Square chapel, as reported in the " Inquirer," sent us, we 
presume, by our ever attentive friend James Haughton. 
That large package, containing a variety of books and 
pamphlets, we made the most of ; sending some to Ohio, and 
others to Canada, among the anti-slavery colored people 
there, where indeed not a few of our papers find their way. 

Baptist Noel also has left the church, it seems ; while 
the Newmans and Puseys are going clean back to Catholi- 
cism or Romanism. I watch with deep interest all these 
fluctuations in the sectarian world. As to your and our 
politics, precious little interest have I in their various shift- 
ings of opinion, for while their base is physical force, the 
structure must be evil. Richard's political leanings have 
given some coloring to his opinion of O'Connell. We 
abated somewhat from his strong language. 


Tell our good friend Richard Allen to beware how he 
suffers the " deceitfulness of riches to choke the divine 
word, ' that it become unfruitful.' " Nothing that we met 
with in our travels, not even that World's Convention, im- 
pressed us so favorably as did your united band of Reform- 
ers, in your weekly gatherings at the Royal Exchange, ex- 
erting so healthful an influence on thousands. It is true 
that the demand for bread has for the time almost sus- 
pended intellectual and moral improvement ; but when you 
cheer us, as having so wide a field of labor in this extended 
country, as did Richard in one of his late letters, he should 
not lament over your circumscribed field, bounded by 
feeding and clothing the hungry and naked. 

I meant to tell you of the wonderful escape of the 
boxed-up slave, henceforth known as Henry Box Brown, 
but time fails, and I must omit it. Our Yearly Meeting is 
now in session, and we have a house full of lodgers. I 
have risen before five o'clk this morning to finish this, and 
now it is breakfast-time for our household, and I must 
close. Ever yours, L. Mott. 

The next letters, after a period of almost a year, 
are also to Richard D. Webb. 

Philad a ., 4th mo. 14th, 1850. 
Mr dear Friend, — ... I have just looked over all 
thy letters received in '48 and '49, and they do my heart 
good, bringing you so fresh to mind. A page from thy 
Hannah, now and then, makes them all the more interest- 
ing to us, I assure thee. Her observations on your chil- 
dren's being suffered to " come up " without any sectarian 
tendency, her evident solicitude for them, and distrust of 
her own heart, even while acknowledging more light, — 
all these feelings I can well understand, having passed 
through some fiery ordeals, to refine from sectarian Quak- 
erism. The only fear for the young in their eschewing our 



order, and absenting themselves from our meetings, is, that 
they may in time be caught up by some proselyting spirits, 
and made bigots of, in a school far behind our Quaker mon- 
astery. Our testimony against priestcraft, while an intelli- 
gent one, was most important to the world's progress. But 
if, as now, while we refuse the pecuniary aid to the minis- 
ter, we countenance nearly all the machinery which sup- 
ports him — Sabbath and Bible worships, belief in human 
depravity, a distinction of morals for the natural and spirit- 
ual man, a superstitious reverence for Jesus, crying, " Lord, 
Lord," instead of doing the works which he said, — mak- 
ing a kind of righteousness and atonement of him, if not 
exactly after the Calvinistic pattern ; if this is our course, 
it will satisfy a wily and grasping priesthood, and our in- 
vective against the " hired " minister will amount to very 

Thou asks how far our Quakers in general agree with 
Henry C. Wright's views of the Bible ; the authority for 
war, slavery, etc. Why, dost thou not know, that save the 
comparatively few abolitionists and come -outers, Friends 
regard him as one of the " world's people," if indeed they 
know that there is such a man ; and never read his nu- 
merous letters and essays. They have never appeared 
in the orthodox " Friend ; " nor defiled the pages of the 
Simon pure " Friends' Intelligencer ; " 1 and the reading 
of most of our monks and nuns is confined to such accred- 
ited periodicals. You have little idea how ignorant both 
classes of Quakers are of our reformatory journals. But 
H. C. W. goes almost " beyond the beyonds," for any- 
body ! 

We have just had a peace puff here — the blowers, 

1 It is very possible that this was written at a time when she had 
fresh proof of the timidity of the Intelligencer. More than once, when her 
attention had been arrested by some stirring anti-slavery appeal, she had 
sent a copy of it to this paper for insertion. It was generally declined, 
as unsuitable for their columns. , 



Elihu Burritt and others. They tried hard to make it an 
orthodox affair, the radicals keeping back ; but after all, 
they were compelled to make use of heretical materials, for 
the sectarian Quaker was afraid of losing his Society influ- 
ence, and must therefore " keep out of the mixture ; " and 
there were not enough " world's people " interested in the 
subject, for the complement of officers. Delegates are ap- 
pointed to go to Frankfort-on-the-Main next summer, and 
Burritt has gone " on his way rejoicing," thankful for small 
favors. He is, however, a remarkable man, and is doubt- 
less doing much toward a substitute for war. . . . James' 
and my love, in full measure, L. Mott. 

Phila., 5th mo. 28th, 1850. 

My dear Richard and Hannah Webb, — ... I 
can readily imagine you far beyond Dublin Yearly Meet- 
ing. We have just plodded through ours, which is some 
fifty years in advance of yours, and certainly " the game 
is not worth the candle," if that 's the way to apply that 
proverb. At any rate, it was a tame affair — no evidence 
of progress, further than as they were pressed forward by 
the force of surrounding opinion, so far as not actively to 
oppose the reformers in their movements. In the free scope 
for the " exercise of concerns," we were well-nigh preached 
to death. Meeting going was advocated threadbare ; grave- 
stones, denounced in full measure ; music, very wicked ; 
while the slave had to sigh, if not to whistle, for a hearing. 
E. M. Davis did make one capital speech in the men's meet- 
ing. We had nine or ten Friends lodging with us, and 
some forty or fifty at meals, daily ; so that weariness came 
over us, at the end of the week, and we are scarcely re- 
cruited yet. <, c o Richard's late letters in the " Standard " 
have been vastly interesting. His travels to and fro fur- 
nish a fund of entertaining matter. Is it not delightful to 
find so many fine minds and good people in the world ? I 
am constantly combating the " human depravity " doctrine, 



and preach in its stead the innate purity of man. My sheet 
is full, and but little in it after all. 

With aboundings of love to each branch, 

L. Mott. 

In a letter written soon after the foregoing, by 
Richard D. Webb to James and Lucretia Mott, he 
says, referring to his leaving the Quaker organiza- 
tion : — 

" I never told 4 Friends ' that I was unwilling to continue 
in membership, — but I may have said what I still think, 
that owing to my total difference of religious opinion, I was 
no longer qualified for membership. It was chiefly with 
this view and in order to stand erect, that I left them ; — 
and I never regretted the step. I acted with great caution 
and deliberation, and I imagine it will prove only a ques- 
tion of time, between you and me. I think since I left the 
Society, I see the defects of the body more clearly than I 
used to do, — though I shall probably continue to feel an 
old regard for them if they behave with ordinary courtesy 
toward me. In this respect I have as little to complain of 
as most separatists." 

Clearsighted as Mr. Webb generally was, he was 
mistaken in thinking that leaving the Society of 
Friends was " only a question of time " between him 
and James and Lucretia Mott. No one can wonder 
at his thinking thus, when the Society made it so 
plain that these " disturbers " were no longer valued 
as members; but the disturbers themselves, though 
sorely tried, had no intention either of resigning, or 
of allowing themselves to be disowned. They had 
faith that a " little leaven leaveneth the whole 
lump;" and felt, that, so long as they could main- 
tain their individual freedom, and still continue in 
membership, they could be of greater service to the 
cause of truth in the Society than out of it. 


Foe some twenty years, James and Lucretia Mott 
had occupied a house on Ninth Street, between Race 
and Vine streets ; an old - fashioned house, with a 
large garden, and a stable in the rear. Next door 
to them, for several years, had lived their daughter 
Maria, and her husband, Edward M. Davis. In 
1850, the latter, in connection with his brother-in- 
law, Thomas Mott, bought a farm, — " Oak Farm," 
— eight miles north of the city, to which they moved 
with their families ; and at the same time James 
Mott purchased a spacious house in Arch Street be- 
low Twelfth, numbered 338, according to the old 
system. This house being too large for their own 
small family, — now only themselves and their 
daughter Martha, — an arrangement was entered 
into, by which Edward and Maria Davis with their 
children, and Thomas and Mariana Mott, with theirs, 
made it their winter home : they in turn taking 
their parents and sister into the household at Oak 
Farm for the summer. This interchangeable com- 
munity life lasted six years : delightful years, which 
it is a privilege to remember. During this time, 
James Mott retired from business with a moderate 
competency, and Martha, the youngest child, was 

" Three - thirty- eight," the name by which the 
town-house was known, became the centre to which 



thronged the numerous relatives and friends residing 
in Philadelphia, and innumerable strangers, of high 
and low degree, who came to the city. Its hospita- 
ble doors opened equally wide to rich and poor, 
known and unknown, white and black. Once they 
opened to let out James Mott, then a white-haired 
man, but still strong and erect, to face a threatening 
mob, clamoring for a fugitive slave supposed to have 
taken shelter there. We were all sitting in the par- 
lor that evening, when we heard confused noises and 
cries coming nearer and nearer the house, which were 
soon recognized as the sound of a mob, a sort of an- 
gry rumble, difficult to describe to one who has never 
heard it, but well known in those days to the expe- 
rienced ears of abolitionists, and to the colored pop- 
ulation of Philadelphia. When these failed to fur- 
nish a convenient gratification to the mob spirit, Cath- 
olic churches offered a field for its unspent energy. 
On this occasion, a single colored man was the unfor- 
tunate victim. For some offense, perhaps for being 
a slave, he had excited the indignation of these city 
rulers, and was pursued by a hooting crowd. With 
a natural impulse for protection, he rushed to the 
well-known refuge, — the house of James and Lu- 
cretia Mott. James Mott opened the front door ; 
the man dashed in, and without stopping, ran through 
the house, and out of the back gate to a small street, 
where he successfully eluded his pursuers. As my 
grandfather stood at the door, confronting the angry 
crowd, a brick was violently thrown at him ; had 
the aim been as good as the intention was bad, the 
consequences might have been fatal. As it was, the 
door-jamb directly over his head received the blow, 
and bore for many a day the deeply indented mark 
of misdirected fury. 



It was an ordinary looking house on the outside, 
like many another of its size in the monotonous city, 
built of smooth red brick, with white marble facings 
and broad white marble steps. According to Phila- 
delphia fashion, the lower shutters were heavy and 
solid, and were painted white. When nightfall came 
on, it was not the way then, however, to close and 
bolt these tight, as it is now ; they were left open 
till bed-time, and passers-by could glance in at the 
bright, cozy parlor, with its animated circle around 
the evening lamp. How cheery the windows looked 
to those who came belated home ! 

In the broad hall stood two roomy arm-chairs, — 
" beggar's chairs," we children used to call them, 
they were in such constant requisition for appli- 
cants of all sorts, "waiting to see Mrs. Mott, miss." 
The two parlors, connected by folding-doors, were 
large, square rooms, of handsome proportion and 
home-like pleasant appearance. Although the furni- 
ture was old-fashioned mahogany and black hair- 
cloth, and ornaments were few, there was a general 
air of comfort and every-day use which was very at- 
tractive. The carpet was sure to be of bright colors, 
and of rather striking design, for my grandmother 
cordially disliked what she called " dingy carpets." 
She also disliked the prevailing style of dark, heavily 
curtained rooms ; and when she came into the parlor 
in the afternoon, would step quickly across to the 
windows, and draw up the green Venetian blinds, let- 
ting the sunlight stream in. In these cheerful rooms 
guests of all kinds found gracious courtesy. Could 
the old walls speak, how many illustrious names they 
would recall! How many stirring sentiments ring 
in our forgetful ears ! What echoes of laughter and 
merriment would they not throw back to us ! 



The dear grandmother was housekeeper, always 
busy, and apparently never weary. Of this cease- 
less activity my grandfather wrote in a letter to a 
friend : — 

" Lucre tia has numerous calls almost daily from all sorts 
of folks, high and low, rich and poor ; for respect, advice, 
assistance, etc., etc. I am sometimes amused to hear the 
object of some of the calls ; it seems as though some people 
thought she could do any and everything. It is true that 
she does do a great deal ; no one out of the family knows 
one half, and no one in the family knows the whole." 

The dining-room of " Three - thirty - eight " — a 
cheerful room towards thirty feet long — always had 
space for one more. The unexpected appearance of 
visitors at meal-time caused no flurry, and no bustle 
of unusual preparation. 

Our grandmother was like her old Nantucket 
neighbor, who after greeting some unlooked for visit- 
ors, quietly told her daughter to " put six more po- 
tatoes on," and made them welcome to the simple 
fare. Few days passed that some one of the out-of- 
town families, or some friend passing through the city, 
did not " drop in " at dinner or tea time. 

At the times of the anti-slavery Fair, or during 
Yearly Meeting week, or when reform conventions 
were held in Philadelphia, the house was thrown 
open for the convenience of those who cared to come, 
and its long table filled to overflowing. A friend 
who was present at a dinner at such a time writes of 
it: — 

" There were our stern reformers, around the social 
board, as genial a group of martyrs as one could find. . . . 
They made merry over the bigotry of the church, popular 



prejudices, conservative fears, absurd laws, and customs 
hoary with age. How they did hold up in their metaphys- 
ical tweezers the representatives of the dead past, that ever 
and anon ventured upon our platform ! On this occasion 
William Lloyd Garrison occupied the seat of honor at Mrs. 
Mott's right hand, and led the conversation, which the host- 
ess always skillfully managed to make general. When 
seated around her board, no two-and-two side talk was ever 
permissible ; she insisted that the good things said, should 
be enjoyed by all. James Mott, at the head of the table, 
maintained the dignity of his position, ever ready to throw 
in a qualifying word when these fiery reformers became 
too intense." 

Among the many pleasant gatherings in the old 
house were the " Fair-meetings," held every week of 
the autumn, in turn, by the Philadelphia abolition- 
ists, for the preparation of articles to be sold at the 
annual Fair in December. These were occasions 
both of busy work and of social attraction ; as one of 
the members said, " Many young persons were in- 
duced to mingle in them, beside those who labored 
from love of the cause. Brought thus within the cir- 
cle of anti-slavery influence, many such were natu- 
rally converted to our principles, and inspired with 
zeal in their behalf, and became earnest laborers in 
the enterprise which had so greatly enriched their 
own souls. Many of these circles, doubtless, became 
nurseries whence our ranks were annually recruited." 

The members met early in the afternoon and 
sewed briskly till dark, when a sort of picnic tea, 
made up of contributions brought by those present, 
was served in the most informal manner. Af- 
ter tea, gentlemen came in, and the affair became 
more social. There was sure to be a large gath- 



ering when the turn came around to " Three-thirty- 

Even pleasanter than these, were the family meet- 
ings, which have been described already ; and the 
birthday and Christmas celebrations. Our grand- 
mother's birthday, First mo. 3 rd , called together old 
and young; our grandfather's was observed in a 
quieter way, as it occurred in midsummer, when the 
families were apt to be scattered. There were also 
the delightful Seventh-day dinners of hominy soup, 
— a primitive compound of Nantucket origin, — 
when children and grandchildren were expected to 
happen in without invitation. Occasionally there 
were solemn and stately entertainments, a bore to 
everybody ; but such did not flourish in the every- 
day air of " Three -thirty -eight." The life there, 
busy even for the youngest inmate, was one of simple 
duties and pleasures, shared by old and young. Few 
servants were kept, and few were needed, where the 
work was so well divided. It was a lively house- 
hold, full of busy people going here and there, and 
of children running up and down, but there was no 
sense of discord or confusion. 

It is well known to those familiar with the history 
of Friends, that they — the early Friends in partic- 
ular — had great faith in that leading of the spirit 
which impelled them at times to deeds for which they 
could give no adequate reason. " And I heard, but 
I understood not ; then said I, O my Lord, what 
shall be the end of these things ? " A strong feel- 
ing came over them to go, and they went, and often 
the apparently blind action was justified by aston- 
ishing results. This simple faith belonged to a sim- 
ple life, and both are passing away ; what then was 


reverenced as a message from Above, is now regarded 
rather as a curious coincidence. Lucretia Mott could 
not be called susceptible to these occult influences; 
yet while she was of a direct practical nature, she 
valued her seasons of introversion ; and even she, at 
times, felt the constraining impulse of an unseen 
power that would not be denied. 

An instance of this is her going to call upon the 
Hon. John Sergeant, at the time when he was an- 
nounced to preside over the Union-Saving meeting, 
in the autumn of 1850. It was during the excite- 
ment that followed the passage of the Fugitive Slave 
Law — of infamous memory. She knew Mr. Ser- 
geant only by reputation, but she felt that she must 
speak with him. As Edward Hopper, her son-in- 
law, was going up Walnut Street on his way home 
from his office, he saw her walking rapidly on the 
other side of the street. It was then twilight. He 
crossed over, and asked where she was going so late. 
She replied, " I am on my way to see John Sergeant. 
He is to preside at the Union Meeting this evening, 
and I wish to speak with him before he goes to it." 
He asked, " Shall I go with thee ? " She answered 
with much feeling, 44 O yes ! Is thee willing ? " Mr. 
Sergeant received them kindly, knowing one visitor 
by reputation, and having had frequent professional 
intercourse with the other, wht> had been a student 
in his office. 

When they were seated, and after a short silence, 
Lucretia Mott said : " I have felt constrained to re- 
quest this interview for a few minutes, and yet I 
scarcely know in what language to deliver my mes- 
sage. Thou hast been chosen to preside at the pub- 
lic meeting called for this evening. When I read 


the announcement in the paper, I called to mind thy 
career as one of the most deservedly honored men of 
our city. To gifts allotted to few, thou hast added 
an earnest and enlightened advocacy of the cause of 
human liberty. In thy speech in Congress on the 
4 Missouri question,' made thirty years ago, thou gave 
no uncertain sound. How well I remember its effec- 
tive argument, its eloquence, and the profound im- 
pression it made on the whole country, the slave- 
holding South, as well as the non - slave - holding 
North ! Of thy reputation as a useful citizen, and a 
good man, we are justly proud; and my prayer has 
this day been, that nothing may occur this evening 
inconsistent with the course pursued by thee in thy 
past life." 

To this brief "message," spoken with evident ef- 
fort, and in the most solemn manner, Mr. Sergeant 
listened with attention, and at its conclusion ac- 
knowledged with feeling his obligation for her kind- 
ness, and assured her that nothing should pass his 
lips at the proposed meeting at variance with the 
profession of his whole life. In speaking afterward 
of this curious interview, he said that he was much 
impressed by the dignity and grace of Mrs. Mott's 

When Kossuth visited Philadelphia in 1852, James 
and Lucretia Mott, to whom he had brought letters 
of introduction from friends in England, called upon 
him and his party, and invited them to dine. They 
admired him greatly, and believed that at heart he 
sympathized with the anti-slavery cause in America. 
In a letter Lucretia Mott says of him, " How won- 
derful is his clear perception ! Although the word 
slave does not find direct utterance, yet as far as he 



dares, he hints at the things rotten in our Denmark. 
His speeches must do good in this country, if that 
good be not counterbalanced by the warlike spirit 
they kindle." Feeling thus, she was glad to meet 
him personally, and to entertain him at their house. 
But the politicians who had him in charge, fearing 
the damage that might befall his cause from asso- 
ciation with abolitionists and heretics, induced him 
to decline their invitation, and merely to call in- 

The following extract from the diary of Madame 
Pulzsky, Kossuth's sister, is interesting in this con- 
nection : — 

Dec. 25 th . — I called on Mrs. Mott, the eminent Quaker 
lady, to whom a mutual friend had given me a letter. I 
have seldom seen a face more artistically beautiful than that 
of Mrs. Lucretia Mott. . . . Her features are so markedly 
characteristic, that, if they were less noble, they might be 
called sharp. Beholding her, I felt that great ideas and 
noble purposes must have grown up with her mind, which 
have a singular power of expression in her very move- 
ments. Her language is, like her appearance, peculiar and 
transparent ; and it is only when she touches upon the 
slavery question that her eye flashes with indignation, and 
her lips quiver with a hasty impatience, disturbing the 
placid harmony of her countenance and her conversation. 
But though she so positively pronounces the views at 
which she has arrived by self-made inquiry, yet she mildly 
listens to every objection, and tries to convince by the 
power of her arguments, untinged by the slightest fanati- 
cism. She expressed her warm sympathy with the cause 
of Hungary, and her admiration of the genius of Kos- 
suth ; yet she blamed his neutrality in the slavery ques- 

I objected, that as Kossuth claimed non-intervention as 



the sacred law of nations, he was not called on to interfere 
in a domestic question of the United States, so intimately 
connected with their Constitution. " But how can Kos- 
suth, the champion of liberty," answered she, " not raise 
his voice in favor of the oppressed race? To argue is surely 
not the same as to interfere." I replied, that a question 
involving intricate domestic interests, and, for that very 
reason, passions so bitter, that even an allusion to it rouses 
sensitive jealousies, certainly cannot be discussed by a for- 
eigner with' the slightest chance of doing good ; that the 
difficulty of emancipation lies, perhaps, less in the lack of 
acknowledgment of the evils of slavery than in the hard- 
ness to devise the means of carrying emancipation without 
convulsing the financial interests of the slave-holders, and 
to do it in a constitutional way. For, after all, this must 
be attended to, if the welfare of the whole community is 
not to be endangered ; therefore this problem can only be 
solved practically by native American statesmen, living in 
the midst of the people, with whom is lodged the final 
power to adopt the measure, as it has already been done in 
the free States, and in the old Spanish colonies. 

Though I could not acquiesce in the opinion of Mrs. 
Mott that the abolition of slavery should be preached in 
season and out of season by the defender of the rights of 
nations, I yet fell beneath the charm of her moral superi- 
ority, and I warmly wished that I could spend hours to 
listen and to discuss with her and Mr. Mott, in the attrac- 
tive circle of her children and grandchildren. Great was, 
therefore, my astonishment, when, upon my expressing my 
admiration for Mrs. Mott to some gentlemen, one of them 
exclaimed, " You do not mean to say you have called on 
that lady ? " 

" Of course I have," was my answer ; " why should I 
not? I am most gratified to have done so, and I only 
regret that the shortness of the time we have to spend 
here prevents me from often repeating my visit." 

p$ ft**** 

X ^ 



" But she is a furious abolitionist," retorted the gentle- 
man. " It will do great harm to Governor Kossuth if you 
associate with that party." 

" I perceive, sir," said I, " that you highly estimate Mrs. 
Mott, as you consider her alone a whole party. But if 
any friend of Governor Kossuth, even if he himself con- 
verses with a person who has strong opinions against slav- 
ery, what harm can there be in that ? " 

" Your cause will then lose many friends in this city," 
was the answer. 

I was perfectly amazed at such intolerance, and ex- 
pressed this frankly. The gentleman, however, attempted 
to point out to me what mischief the abolitionists 'were 
doing, and how long ago emancipation would have been 
carried in all the States, had the abolitionists not so vio- 
lently interfered ; " and besides," continued he, " Mrs. Mott 
preaches ! " 

" Well," replied I, " do not many Quaker ladies preach 
occasionally ? " 

This fact was admitted, but another gentleman remarked 
that Mrs. Mott was dangerous, as her sermons were pow- 
erfully inciting. 

" Is she, perhaps, a fighting Quaker ? " inquired I, 
" who appeals to the words of the Saviour, that he did not 
come to send peace on earth, but the sword ? " 

"lam a fighting Quaker myself," said the gentleman; 
" my forefathers fought in the Revolutionary War ; but 
Mrs. Mott is a Hicksite." 

To my inquiry what were the tenets of the Hicksites, 
inspiring such dislike, I got the answer, " They are very 
bad, very bad ; they, in fact, believe nothing." 

This assertion was so contradictory to the impression 
left on my mind by Mrs. Mott, that I attentively perused 
some of her sermons, and I found them pervaded by that 
fervent desire to seek truth and to do right, of which Jesus 
teaches us, that " blessed are they which do hunger and 



thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled ; " and 
therefore, although my views differ from hers on many 
points, I perceived that party feeling must be strong in 
Philadelphia to arouse such unjust views as I had heard 

In the early summer of 1853 their youngest child, 
Martha, married George W. Lord, and went away 
with him to a remote country home. The separa- 
tion was a sore trial to her parents, for she was the 
youngest and the last. To a friend, who sent them 
a letter of mingled condolence and congratulation, 
James Mott replied : — 

6th mo. 29th, 1853. 
. . . Yes, Martha is married, and we feel lonely. . . . 
That many are disappointed in the marriage state, I have 
no doubt ; but that " not one in a thousand but is doomed 
to disappointment," I do not believe. I have lived in that 
state for more than forty years, and it has been one of 
harmony and love, though we have had our trials and diffi- 
culties in life. As age advances, our love, if possible, in- 
creases. This being my experience, I am in favor of 
matrimony, and wish to see all for whom I feel interested 
made happy in that way. It is the natural state of man, 
and when rightly entered into, an increase of happiness 
and comfort is the certain result. . . . 

In the fall of the same year, James- and Lucretia 
Mott traveled in New York, Ohio, and Indiana, at- 
tending meetings and conventions, and visiting some 
relatives. Before returning home, they went into 
Kentucky to visit some connections of Lucretia's sis- 
ter, Martha Wright, who accompanied them. 

Lucretia Mott writes of this trip : — 

..." We left Cincinnati at eleven o'clk, and did not 
reach Maysville till ten at night. The banks of the river 



afforded a constantly varying scene, and we enjoyed the 
day, though there were no passengers that were attractive. 
John Pelham met us at the landing, with his carriage. 
The ride out to his home, three miles, in full-moonlight 
was very pleasant, and the warm reception from the four 
aunts was grateful. A blazing fire added much to the 
cheerfulness. We were made so entirely at home by their 
Kentucky hospitality, that we soon felt like old acquaint- 
ances. Our sleeping room across the hall had another 
large open fire. In the morning before we were up, a 
real slave-looking girl came in, sans ceremony, and made 
up the fire anew. We passed the next morning in free 
conversation. Their table was generous, as their reception 
in other respects. 

" A meeting had been appointed for me in the Town 
Hall of Maysville, in the afternoon. There was a crowded 
house. Slavery spoken of without reserve, and well borne. 
Much persuasion to have another meeting in the evening 
— which we consented to — on woman ; a great gather- 
ing and apparent satisfaction. J. P. seemed satisfied with 
the meetings, though I learned afterwards that he had felt 
apprehensive, and had expressed a wish that I should be 
told not to speak on, or allude to slavery.'' 

In a letter to Lucy Stone, referring to this jour- 
ney, James Mott writes : — 

Steamboat Oakland, 10th mo. 17th, 1853. 

My dear Lucy, — Here we are on the way up the 
Ohio river, in a small but tolerably comfortable boat. . . . 

On reaching Maysville on Seventh-day eve s , we found 
John Pelham (Martha's brother - in - law) waiting to take 
us to his house, on reaching which his sisters gave us a 
hearty welcome, and we had a pleasant visit. Yesterday 
after dinner we returned to Maysville to attend a meeting 
that had been appointed in the Court House at two o'clock. 
Theology, war, intemperance, and slavery were the topics 



dwelt upon ; slavery was spoken to, plainly, and well re- 
ceived by a large and attentive audience. At the close, 
another meeting was appointed for the evening, on Wo- 
man's Rights. The house was more crowded than in the 
afternoon, indeed it was a jam ; but quiet and good order 
were observed, and the gospel on this subject was preached 
with power and demonstration. At the close very many 
expressed their gratification and a desire to hear more. 
Lucretia told them they must get Lucy Stone to talk to 
them, that she was only as a John to prepare the way for 
Lucy and others, who could do the subject far better jus- 
tice. We think thou wilt find an open door at Maysville. 
The meetings were both free. As Lucretia has never re- 
ceived money compensation for her own use for preaching 
or lecturing, she thinks it not worth while to begin to do 
so in her old age. The money that S. J. May is out of 
pocket for printing tracts will be paid to him out of the 
proceeds of the lecture at Cincinnati, and the balance 
handed to thee when thou comes to Phila.; so says the best 
woman I know in this world. 

To this, Mrs. Wright adds some interesting de- 
tails : — 

Dear Lucy, — I don't know how brother James has 
done to write a word, the boat jars so ; I must add, how- 
ever, my wish that you will go to Maysville. A slave- 
holder said to me, that she thought it a great pity the meet- 
ing last night could not be followed by others, there was 
such a willingness to hear the truth. I never heard more 
earnest demonstrations, not by applause, but in remarks 
afterwards. My good brother-in-law, John Pelham, said 
to me before the first meeting, " I hope Mrs. Mott will not 
name slavery, — notice was given for a religious meeting." 
" Why," said I, " that is eminently a religious subject, and 
the people, believe me, will respect the free utterance of 
opinion far more than an unworthy concealment ; besides, 



she considers herself called of God to speak on this very 
subject ; it was for this she came, on the assurance of Col. 
Stevenson that she might say what she pleased, and I dare 
not interfere with any one's convictions of duty." He 
still demurred, but I think he felt entirely satisfied after 
hearing her ; and she did not spare them. Of course I said 
not a word to her beforehand of this conversation. 

It can hardly be out of place to give some extracts 
from the newspaper reports of these lectures : — 

" One of the largest audiences ever gathered within the 
walls of our spacious Court House was drawn thither on* 
Sunday afternoon, to listen to the world-renowned Quaker, 
Mrs. Lucretia Mott. Curiosity prompted much the greater 
part ; a few, however, expected, from the reputation that 
preceded her, to hear eloquently and plausibly set forth 
principles which found an echo in their own hearts. For 
an hour and a half she enchained an ordinarily restless 
audience (for many of them were standing) to a degree 
never surpassed here by the most popular orators. Mrs. 
Mott is an elderly lady, probably sixty-five, of a fair, 
full, round, cheerful countenance ; a quick beaming eye ; 
a smooth, even, quite pleasant, and rather musical voice ; 
a calm, quiet, yet sufficiently earnest delivery ; evidently a 
woman of strong mind, of determined will, an original and 
bold thinker, with nerve enough for any emergency. She 
said some things that were far from palatable to a Mays- 
ville audience, but said them with an air of sincerity and 
of plausibility that commanded respect and attention. She 
seemed delighted at the great degree of courtesy with 
which she was received and listened to. A good many did 
not know of her appointment for speaking at night, but 
notwithstanding, the Court House was crowded to its ut- 
most capacity, — a larger, and if possible, more attentive 
audience than in the afternoon." 



[For the Express.] 

This bad woman, whose infamous calling is a war against 
the Constitution of the United States, a sacrilegious con- 
demnation of the Holy Bible, preaching disobedience and 
rebellion to our slaves, was allowed the use of our Court 
House for the propagation of her infernal doctrines. We 
wish every citizen of Mason county to be made acquainted 
with the fact that the edifice which has been erected at their 
common cost, only to be occupied by those who were charged 
with the administration of justice, and the protection of 
their religious and political rights, has been again defiled by 
the presence of a foreign incendiary, proclaiming within its 
walls principles antagonistic to the law and peace of the 
commonwealth. Not more than a twelvemonth has gone, 
since its occupation for a similar purpose was the occasion 
of bloodshed and rancorous feelings not yet healed in our 
community. What will be the result of a visit from this 
female fanatic is not yet known ; we should not be sur- 
prised, however, if it were the prelude to a heavy loss on 
the part of the slaveholders of the county, as a score or 
two of blacks were present to behold and hear this brazen 
infidel in her treason against God and her country. 


In the course of several years, James and Lucretia 
Mott went again into some of the western states to 
attend meetings, and, among other places, went to 
Salem, Ohio. Here they stayed at u a sort of Qua- 
ker tavern, kept by Jacob Heaton and Elizabeth, 
his wife." These two faithful abolitionists had en- 
tertained so many lecturers and reformers, that they 
conceived the idea of keeping an album of names. 
This book, which they called their " Anti-Slavery 


Register," had been dedicated by the Rev. John 
Pierpont, in 1854, in the following verse : — 

" Here, Friends of Freedom, be your names enrolled ! 
All ye, who are large-hearted and whole-souled ! 
All ye who labor with the hand, or brain 
To loose the manacle or break the chain ! 
All ye who speak or write or vote or pray 
To put the curse of slavery away ,* 
With heart, soul, spirit in the fight engage ; 
Here is spread out for each a virgin page." 

James and Lucretia Mott were also invited to in- 
scribe their names. Although the latter was often 
called upon to write her autograph, and with it a 
" sentiment," she generally did so with reluctance, 
and sometimes, as in the present case, with awk- 
wardness. Hence the following rather strained at- 
tempt was characteristic at that time. Later, she 
adopted her well-known motto, " Truth for authority, 
not authority for Truth," and used that on such 
occasions. In this " Register " she wrote : — 

" May the success of the Atlantic Telegraph verify the 
sentiment of the poet, that 

' All mankind are one in spirit, and an instinct bears along, 
Round the earth's electric circle, the swift flash of right or wrong.' 

Lucretia Mott." 

To which her husband added, in an equally char- 
acteristic way, — 

" I am an old, plain, matter-of-fact man, not given to 
sentiment, but if my autograph is wanted in addition to 
that of my better half, here it is. James Mott." 

But while she was so often constrained with her 
pen, her grace in speaking was quite as marked. 
This is notably shown, during this same visit, on 
the occasion of a social gathering, at which she was 
asked to make a short address. Knowing that among 



those present there were people of widely different 
opinions, some of them ready to appear in open 
opposition to her, she made the following skillful in- 
troduction to her remarks, and won an attentive 
hearing : — 

" Differing widely from each other upon many theolog- 
ical questions, we, present, are happy in finding a basis for 
unity jind good fellowship in the recognition of that ele- 
ment of our nature which, by whatever name it may be 
called, imparts a sense of dependence upon a Higher Power, 
an accountability to it, and a consciousness of duties and 
obligations towards each other. We are also united in the 
conviction that this element of our being, like every other, 
demands special development ; and that, without such pro- 
vision, it is almost certain to be overmastered by selfish- 
ness, or bewildered by superstition." 

In order to follow the narrative as given in ex- 
tracts from my grandmother's family letters, it is 
necessary to go back a number of years. The letters 
themselves are large, closely written pages of mar- 
velous detail. To save repetition, these entertaining 
sheets were sent from one to another, to daughters, 
sisters, and even to aunts and cousins on Nantucket, 
and in these long journeys, — sometimes even across 
the Atlantic, — many were lost ; but they served their 
purpose at the time, and kept united, as nothing else 
could, the ever widening interests of those whose 
homes were far apart. They do not exhibit the 
writer in the expected character of a well-known 
preacher and reformer ; but they do show graphic- 
ally what she was in her own home, the beloved and 
revered wife, mother, and grandmother. 

... It is on my mind to give thee an account of last 



Fourth-day's doings. Early in the morning, before quite 
light, I assorted the ironed clothes, and mended the stock- 
ings ; before breakfast, wrote the first page of this letter ; 
early after breakfast, received an artist for a portrait, by 
request ; before meeting (ten o'clock) called at Anna's for 
a short time ; after meeting, met half-a-dozen friends, and 
went with them to a printing-office where a number of 
women are employed ; at twelve o'clock met Aunt Eliza 
and went to see C. E.'s new house ; at half-past one^ came 
home to receive company invited to dinner ; from four to 
six received several callers ; from that time till eleven 
entertained J. D., sewing meantime on a strip of carpet. 
And now farewell, darling ; write soon, and keep heart 
for the good time coming. Mother. 

9th mo. 5th, 1852. 

. . . Yes - — really at home again ! We were absent seven- 
teen days — paid as many visits, and attended six or eight 
meetings — all satisfactory, notwithstanding our children's 
"impudence." 1 — Returning home we stopped at West- 
town School, and were much interested in again going 
over the old place. Oh ! those old oak floors ! scrubbed 
almost away — and so clean! I enjoyed looking around 
the play-grounds ; and how the trees have grown ! I was 
the more interested from having heard thee so lately talk 
about the place. We attended the First-day meeting at 
Kennett. The corner-stone of the " Progressive Friends' " 
meeting-house was laid the same day, and in a notice of it 
in a Westchester paper, it appeared as if / was to take 
part, when in fact, I have no interest in any of these cere- 
monies ; and neither James nor I were on the ground at 

1 Nothing more is meant by this startling word than the witty raillery 
of some of the younger members of the family. Their mother was often 
the special object of their jokes, which she received in the sweetest possi- 
ble way, finding only amusement in what might have wounded one less 
unselfish; they understood this well. They loved and reverenced her too 
much ever to wound her. 



all. C. has since told me how sorry P. C. was, to see in 
the paper that I was taking part in such things as laying 
corner-stones. I told C. she might contradict it, which she 
seemed glad to do — and yet I felt like retorting on any 
upbraidings of orthodoxy, as Jesus did, when the Scribes 
and Pharisees asked, " Why do ye transgress the traditions 
of the Elders ?" ( by laying corner-stones.) He answered, 
" Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your 
traditions ? " — I say, it is written, " Proclaim ye liberty 
through all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof." But 
ye say, " Keep in the quiet, and go on in your oppres- 

To her sister, Martha C. Wright, on the death of a 
child : — 

My dear stricken Sister, — Do I not know how to 
feel for a sore-wounded and bleeding heart ? But what 
can I say to alleviate a mother's tender sorrow ? Verily , 
nothing ! Tears I have almost at will, ever since our loved 
mother's sudden departure from us, and a fresh fount 
opened when our brother went. It is a beautiful thought 
— would that its reality were capable of demonstration — 
that her sainted spirit was beheld by thy dove, departing, 
and that they are in angelic embrace in the ethereal world 
around us, not far off in kingly realms, as pictured of yore, 
but very nigh us, in our midst, though we may know it not. 
Dear little soul ! how sorry I am that I did not oftener lay 
aside my sewing, and take him and love him. His sweet 
smile and intelligent eye, and his ever happy infancy will 
be a precious remembrance to you. I looked at him often, 
though I held him to my heart so seldom. 

Why speak of " special Providences ? 99 We can but 
consider them " dark and inexplicable." But when we 
come to look at all these seeming inflictions, as the opera- 
tion of the natural laws, while the pang of parting with 
our loved ones is none the less, we are not left so in the 



dark, nor do we take such gloomy views of " the ways of 
Providence." In thy letter thou says, " Charlie's death 
was so decreed. It is beyond mortal power to say why de- 
creed." I would ask if it is not equally impossible to prove 
it "so decreed " ? While, on the other hand, tracing all 
effects in nature to their legitimate causes, we may with 
more knowledge say why death ensues when malignant 
disease visits ; and why malignant disease visits our abodes, 
in these populous cities, where the poor are crowded into 
unventilated rooms, and iu the universal linking of our 
interests and our sufferings, " strikes down our fairest and 
our best beloved." . . . 

These partings are sad events in our lives, but how 
greatly do the pleasures overbalance ! . . . 

I do not agree with thee that " life protracted is pro- 
tracted woe." That is one of Young's gloomy sayings, I 
presume, when indulging in his morbid grief. We mourn 
the dead, because nature has so constituted us ; not on their 
account always, nor is the sorrow purely selfish. When 
people die before they have lived half their days, it seems 
contrary to the design of their creation ; the world loses 
their usefulness, and they lose so much of the enjoyment 
of life, that all these considerations inspire sadness at their 
departure. . . . 

. . . What a libel on abolitionists is the charge of irre- 
ligion ! When they so distinctly and so repeatedly declare 
their " trust for victory " to be " in God ; " they " may be 
defeated, but their principles, never." With truth, justice, 
humanity on their side, and planting their feet "as on the 
everlasting rock," they " go forth conquering and to con- 
quer." The close of our Declaration of Sentiments was 
beautiful to me when first read, and the repeated evidence 
of the same trust has stamped ours as emphatically the 
religious movement of the age. It is our turn to cry in- 
fidel, and the pseudo church knows it too, and is trembling 
in her shoes. There is danger, however, of reformers each 



making their own hobbies the only right manifestation of 
faith in God, and allegiance to Him, and exercising their 
benevolence, and conscientiousness, at the expense of their 
veneration. The latter organ has received so terrible a 
shock in severing it from its idols, — the Church, the Bible, 
and the ministry, — that it is lying, in too many instances, 
in a paralyzed state, and needs judicious treatment. 

The following, to Nathaniel Barney, of Nantucket, 
although not a " family letter," is inserted herein its 
chronological order : — 

Phila., 3rd mo. 19th, 1852. 

My dear Nathaniel, — The sight of thy well-known 
hand once more in a letter directed to me was welcome. 
Thy continued remembrance of us is truly grateful. We 
all appreciate thy dear daughter's invitation to her mar- 
riage, but at this inclement season, it is not probable that 
we can be present with you. My first impulse was to 
write directly to Alanson and Sarah ; but I have to con- 
fess to an instinctive shrinking from penning anything to 
be read by other than " own folk," who can make allow- 
ance for all defects. 

Thou can hardly conceive the dread I have of answer- 
ing the letters of invitation received from Ohio, West n 
New York, Massachusetts, and other places, to attend anti- 
slavery and woman's conventions, knowing the custom of 
publishing such answers. When I can prevail on my hus- 
band to do it for me, I am happy. So has it ever been in 
reference to public speaking. While desirous to "walk 
worthy the vocation," it has been a constant cross ivithout 
" despising the shame." And now that nearly three-score 
years are mine, the prospect of resting, even though not on 
laurels, is delightful. I was admonished, years ago, in 
hearing Ruth Spencer preach after her voice was failing 
her, that at sixty it would be time for me to give place to 
the younger. Now that so many able women are in the 
field, the "gift" may be yielded to them without regret, in 


full faith that they will " do greater things." Not just in 
the Quaker field, for be it acknowledged with humility, few 
are there, whose gifts I covet; but beyond the sectarian 
enclosure woman's mind, as well as powers of speaking 
aloud, will command respect and audience. . . . Thou asks 
a question, in reference to the marriage ceremony, which we 
could answer for ourselves better than we may do for thee. 
To me there is great beauty in the parties asking neither 
ministerial nor magisterial aid, but in the presence of 
chosen friends, announcing their reciprocal affection ; when 
any present, feeling a word of encouragement, may give 
utterance to it. Such marriages are legal here even when 
performed in private houses. Our m g houses are now sel- 
dom resorted to on such occasions. Your law may require 
some official aid, — if so I should greatly prefer an enlight- 
ened " dear fr d Forman," provided that part of the church 
marriage, — the promise of obedience on the part of the wife, 
— were omitted. I could never approve of that. Many 
years ago, I remember objecting to a charge against one of 
our members, at Twelfth Street Meeting (orthodox), of 
violating our testimony for a free gospel ministry, by em- 
ploying a clergyman in her marriage. It has always 
seemed a forced construction of our testimony ; and I have 
often since that time so expressed it, when complaints are 
brought forward in that way. Our Discipline does not re- 
quire so strict a construction, although long custom seems 
to sanction it. I hope we shall hear thou yielded to the 
reasonable desire, or choice, of the young people. I can 
hardly imagine it so great a sacrifice as it appeared to 
thee. Our consciences are so easily moulded by the 
church, or religious order of our election, that it takes 
years of liberal thinking to free us from the traditions we 

What feeble steps have yet been taken from Popery 
to Protestantism ! Our ecclesiastics, be they Bishops, or 
Quaker Elders, have still far too much sway. Convents 



we have yet, with high walls, whose inmates having taken 
the veil, dare not give range to their free-born spirit, now 
miserably cramped and shrouded. 

Little is there among us in the meeting line worth hear- 
ing. Our movements are rather retrogade than progres- 
sive. James Martin, viewing the Soc y from another stand- 
point, may have given thee a different account. He is a 
man of kind, good feelings, but sect-bound. So with very 
many of our Friends. Priscilla Cadwalader has not yet 
completed her " family visits." She has not kept pace 
with the age ; her preaching is of the older school, and has 
not the " newness of life " of twenty-five years ago. She 
avoids party-spirit, however, and tries to follow "peace 
with all men." 

Thou asks after my health. It is pretty good now — 
except occasional suffering with dyspepsia. I have gone 
out in all weather the past winter, and feel none the worse 
for it. James has renewed his youth, save in his snowy 
summit. He is well, and sends love unmeasured. Now, 
my dear friend, let us hear from thee soon again. 
Thine in undiminished affection, 

L. Mott. 

The disapprobation expressed in the foregoing 
letter, of that part of the church marriage which 
exacts a promise of obedience from the wife, calls to 
mind an incident related by ex-Mayor Fox of Phila- 
delphia. Soon after his installation, and while per- 
forming the marriage ceremony, he noticed among 
the guests Lucre tia Mott. At the close of the cere- 
mony, when, according to the usual custom, he said, 
" I pronounce you to be man and wife," he over- 
heard her say, in an undertone, " husband and wife." 
He went to her afterwards, and asked for the reason 
for such comment, when she said that it always 


jarred upon her when she heard a couple declared 
"man" and wife; as though the wife was a mere 
appendage, as she was probably regarded, when that 
formula first came into use ; that the marriage cere- 
mony left a man still a man, and a woman still a 
woman, and the minister or magistrate had only to 
pronounce the new relation to each other, in which 
they stood, husband and ivife. Mayor Fox added, 
" I was impressed with the reasonableness of this, 
and although I married several hundred couples 
during the remainder of my term of office, I never 
again pronounced them man and wife." 

Another illustration of the same kind of injustice 
done to women, and of Lucretia Mott's unfailing 
protest against it, is found in an occurrence of a few 
years before, during a religious journey which she 
and her husband made together, through the north- 
eastern part of Pennsylvania. They had occasion to 
stay over night at the house of a Friend, who had re- 
cently come into possession of the family homestead 
and a comfortable property. " But," said he depre- 
catingly, when they congratulated him on his good 
prospects, "I have to keep my mother ! " " Was she 
an active woman in early life?" asked my grand- 
mother. " Oh yes, very," he replied. "She brought 
up a large family of children, attended to the house 
and the dairy, and seldom kept any help ; she was 
a very saving woman." " And yet," rejoined my 
grandmother, " and yet I understand thee to say, 
thou hast to ' keep ' her. Did not her industry and 
frugality in her department entitle her to an equal 
ownership with her husband in homestead and farm ? 
Should it not be said that she allows thee to live here 
with her? " 



To return now to the letters : — 

Phil., 2mo. 27th, 1855. 

... I had a heap of clear-starching to do on Third-day 
last, but one after another called, to ask about the School 
of Design, the Woman's Medical College, and colored beg- 
gars came in, so that I had not finished when C P 

came to dine. I brought my starching into the parlor, and 
between dinner and dessert excused myself to iron. . . . 

It was no great disappointment to me to give up the 
meetings thou mentions. When a thing can't be done, 
there is a happy property in our nature that accommo- 
dates itself to circumstances. It is long since any journey 
or visit has been particularly exciting to me. I enjoy a 
day at Mt. Holly, with our cousins, vastly, now and then, 
and out at Oak Farm, as well ; and we are to go to an anti- 
slavery meeting in Bucks Co., next Seventh and First-day. 
Any dependence on my worn-out powers as a speaker de- 
tracts greatly from the pleasure of these occasions. The 
drives with my well-beloved husband are the most antici- 
pated, and are ever enjoyed, even though I am sometimes 
asleep while riding. 

No, the Canandaigua visit did not seem very interesting. 
When people are so over particular as to have to be in the 
kitchen, and at their domestic concerns all the time, visit- 
ors cannot enjoy the added tax on the visited. Mortified 
as I often feel, at the want of special attention to our 
guests, and the omissions that are apparent after they are 
gone, I cannot have my mind all the time on each spare 
room and bed to see that all is in order, and then besides 
on the table-cloth and dishes, and in the kitchen that noth- 
ing shall be underdone, or overdone, and everything go on 
well there. The next time thou comes here, however, three 
white curtains alike shall be at thy room windows. . . . 

On Third-day afternoon Theodore Parker came. James 
met him at the cars ; he expected to go to Jones' Hotel, but 
James told him he would show him to a nearer hotel, lie 


was one of us immediately, and so agreeable. He talked 
of the Kennett meeting, was much pleased with the intel- 
ligent minds he met there, and was struck with the num- 
ber of large men : the Pennocks, Bernards, Darlingtons, 
etc., having their names as ready as an old settler. He 
thought it not the last " Progressive Friends' " meeting he 
should attend. He lectured the next evening in Sansom 
St. Hall, which was nearly full, a very attentive audience, 
and he pleased them well. The lecture on Fifth-day even- 
ing was to a still larger audience, and every word was in- 
teresting, and was appreciated. Dr. Stamm came home 
with us from the lecture, and stayed late ; talking most in- 
terestingly on the future of Nations ; the Dr. thinking the 
destiny of Germany and this country was to supplant all 
others. Theodore Parker doubting that ; the Sclavonic 
race was so powerful, and had such advantages ; naming 
them as familiarly as little Willy his multiplication table. 
We thought his fund of knowledge and his memory were 
wonderful, and we were all much interested. . . . 

4th mo., 1855. 

... I should have liked to hear your talk about prin- 
ciple and expediency, compensation to slave-holders, etc. 
Compensation to the South, even though they have no right 
to demand it, seems somewhat more justifiable, when for 
the entire abolition of slavery, than when paid to an indi- 
vidual slave-holder as an acknowledged price of the victim, 
and used probably in buying other slaves. We have had 
some interesting fugitives here lately. How I wish thou- 
sands more would escape, and the remainder resolve that 
they would no longer work unpaid ! The best compensa- 
tion to claimants would be the added motive to labor. 

. . . , a child who is of the generation who 

" knows not Joseph," who never heard Elias Hicks inveigh 
against the superstitious observance of the Sabbath, and 
the undue veneration of the Bible, is now one of the school 



committee at Cherry St. She lately objected to giving 
children lessons on Seventh-day to take home, which would 
oblige them to study on First-day ! The school is opened 
each day with the reading of the Bible. Are we not going 
back to the " beggarly elements ? " 

5th mo. 14th, 1855. 
. . . Our Yearly Meeting company began to come on 

Sixth-day ; a forlorn Friend from , whose mind had 

been slightly affected. She preaches occasionally. She 
had walked from Eighteenth and Market, and not finding 
our house, " went to the Thomsonian Infirmary at Sixth 
and Market, and there Dr. Comfort lent her an inven- 
tory (directory), and then some one piloted her." Now 
she wanted to find -, she was her " first-cousin onc't re- 
moved," and she would " like to put up there, but she must 

have a pilot." I was going up to 's some time 

that day, so nothing loth, I made that time suit, and taking 
one of her bandboxes myself, while she carried the other, 
we trudged forth ; she with thick yellow moccasins on, and 
two shawls. We reached Franklin St. after a while, and 
dropping her at the door of her friend's house, I turned 
quickly down the first street. 

5th mo. 19th, 1855. 
... I am going to Mt. Holly in a week or two to help 

our cousins make their carpets. I made go up to the 

upper entry and rooms to see the amount of piecing and 
darning I have done on ours. Even if men will only half 
look, I always mean they shall know something of the labor 
bestowed upon house affairs. . . . 

This " making carpets " did not mean merely help- 
ing select, and giving advice as to arrangement, or 
any such play ; it meant hard work, planning, cut- 
ting, sewing, and even nailing down. She had a 
mild contempt for any one who, well and strong, did 
not at least assist in making her own carpets. It 



was the way her mother had done before her, and 
was no hardship ; indeed, on the contrary, the turn- 
ing and making-over of an old one seemed to afford 
her exhilarating enjoyment, unless it happened that 
she was alone; that she never liked; but, with a 
choice few, engaged in the same occupation, she was 
in her element. For many years she assisted her 
daughters and her sisters, and, as in this instance, 
her cousins, in work of this kind, and made it a sort 
of festival. 

The following extract exhibits her systematic care 
in small things : — 


. . . Yes, we do see the N. Y. " Tribune," and our own 
" Ledger " daily, and this abundant reading absorbs all our 
spare time. The " Standard," " Bugle," " Freeman," 
" Practical Christian," and " Prisoner's Friend," with the 
" Una," " Woman's Advocate," " Little Pilgrim," " Littell," 
and a Temperance paper, make a weekly pile so high, that 
I try in vain to keep them folded neatly. I have cleared 
out all the rubbish from my secretary drawers, and besides 
this, have destroyed many old letters and bills, and tied up 
a thousand-and-one pamphlets to give away. I take every 
opportunity to distribute anti-slavery newspapers ; took a 
quantity to Norristown. 

It was contrary to her system of household econ- 
omy to allow any one to use, or tear up newspapers, 
indiscriminately. She assorted them carefully in 
several piles ; and woe be to the unfortunate who took 
a paper from the wrong pile ! Only the dailies were 
taken for kindlings, and not even they, until they had 
attained a venerable age. The weeklies and month- 
lies were given away, some regularly to friends who 
could not afford to subscribe to them, while others 
were made into packages for distribution at country 



The next tetter refers to the celebrated case of 
Passmore Williamson : — 

8th mo. 7th, 1855. 

. . . James will have to come into town at twelve 
o'clock to attend a preliminary indignation meeting, to 
which M. L. Hallowell and several others have signed a 
kind of private call. Thomas Williamson says he is only 
afraid that Passmore will come out of prison too soon. 
James went down to Moyamensing to see him yesterday. 
I felt it my duty to propose in meeting last First-day that 
our Friends should call a meeting and enter a protest. 

H W , after meeting, expressed great unity with 

all that was said, and wished much that something should 
be done — he " had never had his feelings so outraged as 

at Kane's doings." J M thought "the testimony 

conflicting — though he was watching with interest," etc., 
— did not " know whether we were prepared to act offi- 
cially." We had quite a talk in the yard with some six or 
eight ; S P standing in stolid silence. 

An excellent summary of this case is given by 
Mary Grew in her final report to the Female Anti- 
Slavery Society. She says : — 

" A citizen of Philadelphia, whose name will always be 
associated with the cause of American liberty, in the legal 
performance of his duty, quietly informed three slaves 
who had been brought into this State by their master, a 
Virginia slave-holder, (John W. Wheeler, then United States 
Minister to Nicaragua,) that, by the laws of Pennsylvania, 
they were free. The legally emancipated mother, Jane 
Johnson, availing herself of this knowledge, took posses- 
sion of her own person and her own children ; and their 
astonisned master suddenly discovered that his power to 
hold them was gone forever. No judge, commissioner, or 
lawyer, however willing, could help him to recapture his 
prey. But a judge of the United States District Court 


could assist him in obtaining a mean revenge upon the 
brave man who had enlightened an ignorant woman re- 
specting her legal right to freedom. Judge Kane, usurping 
jurisdiction in the case, and exercising great ingenuity to 
frame a charge of contempt of court, succeeded in his pur- 
pose of imprisoning Passmore Williamson in our county 
jail. The baffled slave-holder also found sympathizers in 
the Grand Jury, who enabled him to indict, for riot and 
assault and battery, Passmore Williamson, William Still, 
and five other persons. During the trial which ensued, 
the prosecutor and his allies were confounded by the sud- 
den appearance of a witness, whose testimony, that she was 
not forcibly taken from her master's custody but had left 
him freely, disconcerted all their schemes, and defeated 
the prosecution. The presence of Jane Johnson in that 
court -room jeoparded her newly - acquired freedom; for 
though Pennsylvania was pledged to her protection, it was 
questionable whether the Slave Power, in the person of 
United States officers and their ever-ready minions, would 
not forcibly overpower State authority and obtain posses- 
sion of the woman. It was an intensely trying hour for 
her and for all who sympathized with her. Protected by 
the energy and skill of the presiding judge, William D. 
Kelley, and of the State officers, her safe egress from the 
court-room was accomplished." 

In a letter on the same subject Miss Grew says : — 

" During the trial, Mrs. Mott was in attendance to give 
sympathy or help as occasion might offer; and when the 
poor woman was hastily taken from the room, and placed 
in a carriage to be driven rapidly away, under an armed 
guard, she sat by her side. To that sanctuary of refuge, 
Mr. and Mrs. Mott's house in Arch Street, they hastened. 
Entering the front door, and quickly passing through the 
house, Jane Johnson reentered the carriage at the rear, 
and was taken to a place of safety. In that moment of in- 



tense excitement, when every one else was wholly ab- 
sorbed in the one thought of escaping pursuit, it occurred 
to Mrs. Mott that Jane might be hungry, as she had had 
no dinner. Seizing apples and crackers from her store- 
room, and potatoes from the kitchen fire, she ran with 
them to the carriage." 

Although so indifferent to "creature comforts" 
herself, no one was quicker than she to see when 
others required them ; and to see, was to supply their 

Twenty years after this occurrence, her grandson, 
in the course of business in Washington, met a gen- 
tleman by the name of Wheeler, who, after talking 
with him of the changes wrought by the civil war, 
asked, " Do you happen to remember the case of 
Jane Johnson and her children, a fugitive slave case 

in Philadelphia ? " H replied that he did, when 

Mr. Wheeler said, " Well, those were my niggers ! " 
To which H. responded, " And I helped to run them 
off ! " The hearty laugh that followed was in itself 
the strongest possible evidence of the changes about 
which they had been speaking. 

To return again to the letters : — 

9th mo. 5th, 1855. 
. . . Why didst thou not tell us more of Lucy Stone's 
talk with thee at Saratoga ? I. B. had much to say of 
Earnestine L. Rose's lovely character. He scarcely knew 
her superior. I was glad to hear him say so, and pleased 
also that her speaking was so gratifying to thee, and that 
Frances Wright's womanhood was vindicated by her. I 
have long wished and believed that the time would come, 
when Mary Wollstonecraft and Frances Wright, and Robert 
Owen, would have justice done them, and the denunciations 
of bigoted sectarianism fall into merited contempt. . . . 


Thou queries, " How are we to reconcile the wholesale 
destruction of life occasioned by storms at sea, volcanoes ? " 
Benjamin Hallowell, in his scientific lectures, spoke of these 
occurrences as striking evidences of the impartial operation 
of the natural laws — so does George Combe. We have 
warning enough to lead us to build our vessels strong and 
secure, so that they may withstand storms, and increasing 
intelligence leads mariners to avoid icebergs. The warn- 
ings around volcanoes are sufficient, if obeyed, to lead the 
inhabitants to move beyond their danger. So with dis- 
ease ; fevers, cholera, etc., used to be regarded as special 
judgments — and so in one sense they are, as the result 
of neglect of the laws of health ; but man has reason and 
intelligence now to avoid these epidemics. I do not know 
as to earthquakes ; but when whole cities are destroyed, 
there is certainly nothing partial in the visitation. Benja- 
min Hallowell spoke of land-slides, warning people not to 
build too near the edge. Yes, we have after all to con- 
fess that our knowledge is limited ; and our very ignorance 
should lead us to beware how we look upon awful occur- 
rences as " God's decree." The tendency of such a con- 
clusion is to neglect the obvious cause of calamities. 

The following were written shortly after return- 
ing home from Auburn. The first letter tells of the 
safe journey, and concludes as follows : — 

llth mo. 10th, 1855. 
... It was a great pleasure to be with you all once 
more, and our visit furnishes much of deep interest to dwell 
upon. Our love is so strong towards each family, and we 
enter so warmly into your joys and sorrows, that your 
pleasures are ours, and your woundings are our hurt. May 
you all be happy is the ardent breathing of my soul ! 

Most lovingly, 

L. Mott. 

The next alludes briefly to a memorable meeting. 



Phila., 11th mo. 16th, 1855. 
. . . Our visit and meetings in New York were satisfac- 
tory. Some account of the meeting in Rose St. you may 
have seen in the " Times " of Second-clay. Richard Crom- 
well quoted, " Beware lest men spoil you, through philos- 
ophy or vain deceit," adding with a turn toward me, and 
a motion of his hand, "or conceit either." And again, 
" The light shineth in darkness, but the darkness compre- 
hendeth it not," pointing his finger at me, and so on ; much 
of that sort. There was much expression to me when the 
meeting was over of satisfaction with what I had said — 
from some also who used to be rather opposed. . . . 

This was an occasion of much feeling among the 
New York Friends, who, not many years before, had 
disowned three of their members for the sin of Aboli- 
tionism. While some of the circumstances connected 
with it may fitly rest forgotten, it is worth while to 
read again the report of the sermon which caused 
such excitement. It was reported for the New York 
" Times," from which it is now copied. 

" Denouncing the still prevailing King- and Priestcraft, 
Mrs. Mott had the courage to express what many repress, 
and. declare that Protestantism was only a modification, not 
a thorough reform of a degrading superstition. In glowing 
terms she claimed to plant her platform where Christ and 
St. John had erected it for Humanity, but she said she 
should separate herself from the priests and their tools, 
who have degraded that platform into worldly ecclesiasti- 
cal business establishments. Gathering hope from all the 
bright features of the progressive symptoms of practical 
Christianity around us, Mrs. Mott proved that all the lead- 
ing reforms of the age, — Anti-Slavery, Temperance, and 
all the benevolent and philanthropic movements of the day, 
— have sprung not by the dogmas propounded by either 
the Church of Rome or England, or any other material or- 


ganization, but from the individual soul of man, from the 
Divinity rising within man, from the Divinity of which 
Christ was the most celestial exemplar. 

" In the course of her address, which, begun in somewhat 
impassive and monotonous strain, increased in fervor and 
eloquence, as, in advancing, she was carried away by the 
holiness of her theme, Mrs. Mott spoke in terms of the 
most enthusiastic regard of all those noble laborers in the 
cause of humanity, — ■ preachers, teachers, lecturers, and 
above all, editors, — who, in defiance of a corrupt public 
opinion, battle with the combined hosts of the slave oli- 
garchy, ready to sacrifice their popularity, their fortunes, 
everything, to the attainment of the great object in view. 
But how have these world-redeeming impulses made their 
way in the heart of so many noble men and gentle women ? 
By dogmas ? By creeds ? By the degrading faith in the 
Gocl-decreed depravity of man ? No ! exclaimed Mrs. Mott. 
No. By sympathy for fellow -men, — by love of God, 
— by faith in the perfectibility of the human mind, — by 
faith in the Divinity residing within man, residing within 
woman. All honor, all praise, all hail to the great Messiah 
who founded Christianity ; but did he not say himself that 
other Messiahs will come after him ? Did he not point in 
every word to the fact that every age will yield other Mes- 
siahs called forth by its requirements ? was his whole life 
not a constant protest against priestcraft, whether palpable, 
as in the Vatican, or less palpable, as in some Protestant 
churches? Did he not do good by the wayside, as he 
went along, without reference to clime, locality, form, 
creed, caste, race, condition, and thus call upon humanity to 
follow the example, and upon the human soul to awaken to 
its intrinsic Divinity, and to cast off forever and ever the 
tyranny of churches, and the thought-killing despotism of 
the priesthood? 

" All the progressive features of our age were summed up 
by Mrs. Mott with wondrous compactness ; and while their 



existence was traced by her to the growing anxiety of the 
human mind to emancipate itself from the influence of 
priesthood, ' every one to do his own and her own thinking,'' 
to pass from the childhood of civilization into the riper 
sphere of manhood, Mrs. Mott opines that the development 
of those various contemplated reforms would only be re- 
tarded by a relapse into the old enslavement of thought, 
and could only be accelerated by a daily increasing appreci- 1 
ation of the capabilities of the human soul by the world, 
with recognition of the God in man." 

During the winter of 1856, it became apparent 
that Lucretia Mott could no longer bear the strain of 
keeping house in the city. She was weary with en- 
tertaining so much, and being called hither and yon 
as if she were public property. She was weary of 
presiding at public meetings, of attending executive 
committees, and of seeing strangers. It seemed 
sometimes as if she could not call an hour of the 
day her own ; all sorts of people came to her with 
their affairs, and no one appeared to realize that she 
might have affairs of her own. She was becoming 
worn out, and some change was necessary. In this 
emergency it was finally decided to sell " Three- 
thirty-eight," and to buy in its place a certain little 
farm-house eight miles out of town on the Old York 
Road, just opposite Oak Farm, where some of her 
children already lived. This was accordingly done ; 
but not without mourning and lamentation from 
those of the family left in the city, and keen regret 
on their own part that the community life must come 
to an end. It had been proved an entire success in 
every way ; and the old house was endeared to all 
by many pleasant associations. When its sale was 
actually consummated, a rhyming member of the 



family echoed the general feeling in a series of verses, 
each beginning, 

" Weep for the glory of Three-thirty-eight ! " 

These were read in the last family meeting to a large 
gathering of the clan. They were very personal — 
and very funny — and were greeted with much 
laughter, but when they were finished, many eyes 
were glistening with tears. They began thus : — 

" Weep for the glory of Three-thirty eight ! 
Weep for the family, once so elate ! 
Weep for the friends, who their sorrows will date 
From the day of the closing of Three-thirty-eight ! " 

There were also some other " poems of lamenta- 
tion " read on that memorable occasion, from which 
a few of the least personal verses can be selected. 
They make no pretensions to any real poetical merit, 
but from their association, are valuable in our family 
annals. These began : — 

"Who wearied of the world's renown, 
And sought a useful life to crown, 
By selling off his house in town ? 

James Mott. 

" Who was it that the sale decreed, 
And urged him on to do the deed, 
And wished to close the terms with speed? 
Lucretia ! 

Then followed some sixteen or seventeen other 
verses, descriptive of one and all, and ending with, — 

"Who constantly will ring the bell, 
And ask if they will please to tell 
Where Mrs. Mott has gone to dwell ? 

The beggars. 

" And who persistently will say 
' We cannot, cannot go away. 



Here in the entiy let us stay ' ? 

Colored beggars. 

" Who never, never, nevermore 
Will see the ' lions ' at the door 
That they 've so often seen before? 
The neighbors. 

u And who will miss, for months at least, 
That place of rest for man and beast, 
From North, and South, and West, and East ? 
Everybody. ' ' 

Meantime, the little farm-house had been altered 
and enlarged, and in the spring of 1857 James and 
Lucretia Mott moved out there, and called the place 
Roadside. Here they spent the rest of their lives. 


When James and Lucre tia Mott retired to country 
life, it seemed to be only a temporary seclusion from 
which they might emerge after the quiet of a few 
years, but in reality, it marked a distinct period in 
their lives, and one which proved to be the closing 
portion. They still kept up an active interest in the 
reforms of the day, and continued to attend such 
meetings and conventions as took place within mod- 
erate distances of Philadelphia, driving to them in 
their own carriage, when it was possible. This was 
no handsome equipage, with coachman and pair of 
horses, but a neat, square, covered wagon, of what 
would now be considered very antiquated pattern, 
comfortable for two persons, and of an apparently 
inexhaustible stowage capacity. The one horse was 
generally a good animal, for James Mott was a crit- 
ical judge of horses, and felt a pardonable pride in 



those he owned. He and his wife had many a pleas- 
ant drive together in the new leisure that had come 
to them ; sometimes into the city, or to the neighbor- 
ing town of Germ an town, and occasionally through 
the winding country roads into hilly Montgomery, or 
fertile Chester County. In the summer of 1861 they 
ventured as far as Auburn, N. Y., spending several 
weeks on the journey. At another time, in prose- 
cution of a concern felt by James Mott, they visited 
in this way many of the country meetings of the 
Society of Friends, near Philadelphia, James Mott 
speaking at each one. 

In driving, my grandfather enjoyed looking about 
him as he went along, noticing the landscape, and 
the crops, and the people ; while my grandmother, 
on the contrary, regarded only the end of the jour- 
ney, and felt little interest in intermediate objects. 
She always took her knitting with her, and knitted 
on the way. This occupation needed no eyesight, 
and was no bar to conversation, the busy fingers 
seeming to have an intelligence of their own. The 
amount of work accomplished in this manner was 
almost incredible. It was no mere fancy work, begun 
for the entertainment of an idle hour. The little 
pieces, knit separately in the form of shells or stars, 
were afterward sewed together into bureau and table 
covers, and crib-quilts for children and grandchil- 
dren. When she first undertook to make these, it 
was with the intention of providing substitutes for 
her own covers and quilts, which good care could no 
longer keep from wearing out. These were made 
of English " marseilles," manufactured from free 
cotton, and no more could be found in the American 
market, except such as were made from cotton raised 


by slave labor. She therefore procured free knitting 
cotton, and soon made for herself what she could not 
buy. Then, having supplied her own wants, and 
liking the convenient work, she continued it for the 
benefit of others. 

James and Lucretia Mott drove into Philadelphia 
every Fourth-day morning to attend Friends' meet- 
ing. On First-days, until the death of the former, 
they attended meeting at Germantown, or Abington, 
with great regularity. Whenever they drove into 
the city, they were careful to take with them some 
seasonable product of garden or farm, to give to one 
or another of the family living in town. They never 
went empty-handed. When there was nothing else, 
I have known my grandmother to take two or three 
freshly laid eggs in her hand-bag, in dangerous prox- 
imity with its usual contents. One of her letters, 
dated one Christmas Eve, says : — - 

" Yesterday James Corr drove me into town with a dear- 
born-load of turnips, scrapple, mince pies, and turkeys, to 
be divided between House of Industry and Old Colored 
Home. I made some calls, and then went round to some 
dozen places, picking up ' trifles light as air ' for my pres- 
ents. I find great comfort in keeping ' in the simplicity,' 
and to useful articles. James Mott drove out with me, 
with forty or fifty parcels in the wagon." 

The " dozen places " at which she chose her 
Christmas presents were sure to be small out-of-the- 
way shops, in whose support she had a kind of pity- 
ing interest. She rarely entered the large shops of 
the city, where she could have been better suited at 
less price, but would walk long distances to make 
her purchases at these other places. On her way 
home, she would often contrive to call at a certain 



confectioner's (after the war made all sugar of free 
produce), in order to take home to the children of 
the household a favorite kind of cake made only at 
that shop. Long after the rides in and out of town 
had been superseded by the steam railway and the 
tedious horse-car route, the same generous thought 
for others and disregard of her own convenience, that 
led her to carry into town the basket of fresh eggs 
to give away, also induced her, no matter how laden 
with bundles and bags, to take back with her the 
equally awkward package of mountain-cake for the 
gratification of the younger members of the family. 
It was of no use to demur, or even to offer to assist 
her. She liked to take the trouble, and to take it in 
her own fashion. 

This reminds me of an incident both amusing and 
characteristic. Soon after moving into the country, 
while on her way to the railway station, then at 
Front and Willow streets, she saw in a second-hand 
store a child's high-chair, which she bought, to serve 
as an extra one in the family. (In passing, I ought 
to say that she seldom could go by that second-hand 
store without making some purchase.) The chair 
was sent to the station, put on the cars, and put off 
at the usual stopping-place, a mere shed on a side 
lane. Contrary to custom, no carriage met her, and 
no person was in sight. She stopped to think what 
could be done with the chair, for it was hardly safe 
to leave it where it was ; then saying to herself with 
a little laugh, " It is not heavy," she took off her 
bonnet, tied the strings together and hung it on her 
arm, and, placing the chair upside-down on her head, 
walked slowly across the fields to the house, nearly 
a quarter of a mile, unseen by any but her own as- 
tonished household. 



She was curiously unwilling either to exact or to 
receive attentions. This was a marked peculiarity, 
which naturally increased with age. In traveling, 
if she were alone, she would slip quietly into a seat 
near the rear end of the car, and seem to be asleep, 
lest some fellow-traveler should notice her, and offer 
his services as escort. It was kindness to leave her 
to the unfailing companionship of her own thoughts. 
When members of her family remonstrated with her 
for going about alone, and offered to accompany her, 
she would say, " No, thank thee, I do not want any- 
one. There is always somebody to help me in and 
out of the cars, and the conductors are very kind." 
When on occasions she stayed in Philadelphia over- 
night to attend meetings, it was disagreeable to her 
to be waited upon. Even late in the evening, she 
would watch her opportunity to disappear unper- 
ceived, and would walk unattended through the 
streets to her lodging-place. The idea of fear never 
entered her mind. An instance of this occurs in one 
of her letters, as late as 1867. She says, " I stayed 
with sister Eliza until nearly nine in the evening, 
and then slipped off, without troubling either of the 
sons to wait on me to the horse-cars. I do enjoy in- 

The following is another instance of the same sort, 
as well as of her remarkable energy, to which ob- 
stacles seemed to act only as incentives. It was 
her intention to go with her daughter Anna several 
miles into the country, to assist another daughter 
with the carpets in her new house. After a very 
busy day in the city, she reached the far up-town 
depot at six o'clock, only to find that the train had 
gone a half hour before. Most persons would then 



Lave waited until the next morning, and she event- 
ually was obliged to do so, but it was not until she 
had tried several round-about ways to reach her des- 
tination, without success. "There was nothing to 
do," she says, "but to wait for the first morning 
boat at six-thirty. So I went back to Edward Hop- 
per's, told them of my attempt, and joined in the 
laugh at my expense. But next morning I rose 
early, groped in the kitchen, found a pot of cold tea, 
which with crackers was sufficient breakfast, and 
walked down to the boat in good time. I got off at 
Torresdale, the nearest stopping-place, although still 
four miles from Elizabeth's, got a lift in a dearborn 
one mile, walked the other three, and reached the 
house a few minutes after nine; was laughed at 
again, and astonished at, and sewed on the entry car- 
pets till near night." This was in her sixty-eighth 
year. In this connection let me introduce still an- 
other letter, written seven years later, when she was 
seventy-four years old. It was written just after she 
and her husband returned from the first convention 
of the Free Religious Association, held in Boston. 
She had gone away from home in feeble health, but 
the excitement of the journey and convention, so far 
from doing her harm, seemed to revive her strength 
and energy. The achievements recorded in this let- 
ter might be envied by many of better health and 
fewer years. It is dated : — 

West Chester 6th mo. 5th, 1867. 
. . . You cannot be surprised at my dating from this 
place, we have been so much from home of late. . . . We 
reached Philadelphia on Seventh-day, at eleven o'clock, 
not going out home till afternoon. On First-day morning 
I flew around, put away our ironed clothes (which I al- 


ways prefer to have left for me to do), unpacked and re- 
packed our traveling bags, had an early breakfast, and off 
we drove again for Darby, — thirteen miles, — to meeting. 
There John and Mary Child joined us in their carriage, as 
they did last year, and we came on to West Chester in 
company, attended two Monthly Meetings, paid three or 
four visits, and now here I am with Benjamin and Jane 
Price. James had to return to Phila. I shall go to 
Friends' school and to meeting this morning, to the peace 
meeting in the afternoon, to " Progressive Friends' " meet- 
ing at Longwood to-morrow, and on Sixth-day James will 
join me again, to attend two more Monthly Meetings farther 
west ; returning to Kennett on First-day. We shall visit in 
that neighborhood for two days, and come here again on 
Fourth-day to the golden wedding of Benjamin and Jane 
Price ; hurrying home that same afternoon and evening, in 
the moonlight. 

My grandparents never minded inclement weather. 
If an engagement abroad had been made, neither 
rain, nor snow, nor wind, was considered; extra 
wraps were got out, and they set forth. My weather- 
wise grandmother was full of old nautical sayings 
about new moons, and waning moons, and backing 
winds, doubtless learned in the far-off Nantucket 
childhood. She had a curious way of appending to 
the date of her family letters, in log-book fashion, a 
synopsis of the weather at the time of writing ; such 
as, u First mo. 8 th , clear and cold, high wind blow- 
ing ; " or " Heavy rain from S. E. ; such storms never 
last long ; " or again, with a keen housewifely percep- 
tion of the work pertaining to certain days in the 
week. " Second-day morning — clearing — clothes 
drying nicely." It would be an exaggeration to say 
that her predictions concerning the weather always 
came true, but it is within bounds to assure the reader 



that they were generally correct. She would foretell 
rain, when the skies were clear, and the air soft and 
sweet, and the rain came ; or she would set out for 
town in the face of what seemed to be un propitious 
gales, and the sun would soon break out and the day 
prove to be what she had foreseen. She naturally 
took pleasure and some pride in these prognostica- 
tions. But though she often consulted the appear- 
ance of the heavens to detect the signs of change, I 
do not remember that she ever noticed the beauty of 
the clouds, or the grandeur of sunset effects. She un- 
derstood what they betokened for the morrow, but 
that was all. My grandfather in his quiet way, took 
more notice of such things, but he expressed little of 
what he felt. 

The house at Roadside was a sunny old place, sur- 
rounded at first by cherry and apple and pear-trees ; 
afterwards by maple and oak. The windows com- 
manded pleasant, though limited views of the adja- 
cent country, and looked up and down the much- 
traveled " Old York Road," formerly the highway 
for stage-coaches between Philadelphia and New 
York. There was a small space between the house 
and the road, originally hedged in by lilac and althea 
bushes, but as these grew large and interfered with 
a full view of the road, they were one by one sacri- 
ficed to my grandmother's dislike of being " shut 
in." And many of the trees, too, as they spread 
wider and shadier over the grass, fell under the same 
decree. When the house was bought, it was a small 
stone farm-house of the most primitive description. 
A large addition to the north, and a kitchen wing to 
the west, converted it into a substantial country resi- 
dence. Externally, it was plain, but not unattrac- 


tive ; internally, it had the charm of oddly-shaped 
rooms and queer passages, with unexpected turnings, 
and steps up in one place, and down in another. 
There was nothing handsome about the hall, nothing 
imposing in the parlor but its fine proportions, but 
there was an air of hospitality and good cheer that 
took possession of one entering its doors ; an atmos- 
phere of cordiality, which rendered one insensible to 
the lack of beautiful furniture and ornaments. Who 
cared to think of carpets and hangings when James 
Mott came forward, his kind face beaming, his ready 
hand outstretched ? And when, from her chair by 
the fireside, his wife rose to offer her cordial wel- 
come ? A dear friend of theirs once said in my 
childish hearing, " James Mott's greeting is a bene- 
diction." The words were a source of wonderment 
then, for it was a daily blessing to me, lightly passed 
by ; but in after years, when I returned a guest to 
the old home, they came to my mind with full 

In looking back now, I can recall no other room 
so attractive in its homely air of comfort, as the old- 
fashioned parlor at Roadside. It was neither artistic 
nor elegant, but it was lived in, every day, and bore 
that indefinable mark. It was part of the new house. 
In the south end, in what was the original house, was 
the library, a small square room, lighted by two win- 
dows, and a glass door opening on to the piazza. 
This little library was the sanctum, the gathering- 
place of the family in the morning, the quiet retreat 
in the evening from the lively groups in the parlor. 
Two book-cases held the well-worn volumes, and 
from the walls looked down the faces of William 
Lloyd Garrison, William Ashurst, George Thomp- 



son, Elias Hicks, Miller McKim, Robert Purvis, and 
some members of the family. On one side of the 
fireplace was tacked a small map of Nantucket Island, 
and another of the town, after the great fire of 1846, 
while near by there hung a sort of genealogical 
chart, with Tristram Coffyn at its centre. My grand- 
father's high, straight-backed chair stood at one side 
of the fire near the light of the western window, and 
in the corner behind it was the table, which in fam- 
ily parlance was called " the colt," because of its long 
legs. In the middle of the room, opposite the open 
Franklin stove, stood my grandmother's rocking- 
chair, and her two-shelfed table, the latter covered 
with books, papers, and writing materials, systemat- 
ically arranged, and never disturbed but by her own 
hands. A pretty Nantucket basket, devoted to ear- 
pet rags, and another sacred to mending, occupied 
part of the lower shelf. Here she sat every morning 
after her regular work was done, first to glance over 
the " Ledger," 1 and then to settle accounts, or write 
letters, or read some of the various books of interest 
at the time. 

When she enjoyed a book thoroughly, she could 
not read it alone. If her ever-read}?- husband were 
out of the way, going his rounds at stable or garden, 
she would step quickly to the foot of the stairs, and 
call for one or another of the family to come down 
and share with her the pleasure of a fine passage. 
Then in the evening she would read it again, and 
make it a subject for general conversation ; or fail- 
ing to obtain a sympathetic audience, she would 
make copious extracts on various shabby bits of 
paper, and put them away for future reference. 

1 The morning newspaper. 


In this way she copied largely from some of her 
favorite books, among them the " Life of Joseph 
Blanco White," and Foxton's " Popular Christian- 
ity," and later, the " Life of Dr. Arnold," and some 
of Dean Stanley's addresses, particularly his valedic- 
tory address at St. Andrews. Her printed copy of the 
latter was worn out with much reading and lending. 

Most of these notes were written, as I have said, 
on odds and ends of paper, but her favorite scraps 
were the inside of envelopes that had been used. 
After her death, numbers of these were found, tucked 
into larger envelopes and carefully tied up and la- 
beled. This babit was often deprecated by her fam- 
ily, who furnished her with what they considered, 
more suitable paper, but she preferred her own way. 
Such rigid economy — for it was nothing else — 
might seem to border on parsimony, but that she 
gave so freely of her limited means. She saved in 
one way only to be generous in another. Her hus- 
band sympathized fully with her in these habits. 
They had both been trained to economy in a hard 
school, where pennies and half pennies had to be ac- 
counted for with conscientious scruple ; and when 
the time came that extreme care was no longer nec- 
essary for themselves, they continued it in order to 
be able to help others. The amount they gave away 
was a large portion of what was never more than a 
moderate income. It was not given to ordinary 
charities, as a rule, but was quietly passed over, five 
dollars here, ten there, or fifty, perhaps, to help some 
poor overworked seamstress to a holiday, to alleviate 
a case of temporary distress, or to furnish an unex- 
pected treat to some self-denying drudge. They 
liked to supply to others what some one has called 



the " necessary superfluities of life," althougli denying 
them to themselves. In one of her letters, Lucretia 
Mott says, u James and I both feel that the pleasure 
will be far greater in using what we may have, above 
our own wants, for the help of those dear to us, and 
of others, too, now while we live, rather than to leave 
it for the law's division, or indeed for appropriation 
by legacy." 

They had also a wonderful way of divining the 
wants of those around them, and supplying the 
wherewithal. Many of us can remember one occa- 
sion when several members of the household, chil- 
dren, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, were 
preparing for a trip to Auburn, N. Y., to welcome 
home two young wanderers from a year's journey 
around the world. She called each one to her in the 
course of the day, and handed him, or her, a sum suf- 
ficient to cover the whole expense of the journey. 
About this same time, on the same morning perhaps, 
a member of the household, going into her room, 
found her diligently mending a rip in her pillow. 
She glanced up and said, " Will thee please open 
that bureau drawer for me ? Right in front in the 
corner, thee will find a feather that I want." The 
feather was given her ; she tucked it into the pillow, 
and sewed up the hole. 

Another instance of her saving was the use of 
ravelings in sewing carpet rags, and in many kinds 
of mending where strength was not required. This 
has often been commented upon, sometimes with 
harshness or ridicule ; but it is not for one who prof- 
ited by her generosity to criticise, as excessive, the 
economy that made such generosity possible. 

Both she and my grandfather kept an accurate 



account of their expenses, and paid cash for what- 
ever they bought. They regarded looseness in pe- 
cuniary matters as a fault very nearly criminal ; and 
while they were generous, they were also exact. 

During the first few years at Roadside, George 
and Martha Lord and their little children formed 
part of the family. Afterwards, as will be seen in 
the course of the accompanying letters, they went to 
New York to live. This would have left James and 
Lucretia Mott alone, but that in the mean time their 
second daughter, Maria, with her husband, Edward 
M. Davis, and their children, had come to live with 
them. By this change Lucretia Mott was released 
from all housekeeping cares, and though she con- 
tinued for a while the oversight to which she had 
been so long accustomed, she finally dropped it alto- 
gether. But there were some things, — such as the 
daily care of her own room, — which she always 
preferred to do herself, and there were certain dishes, 
the making of which she trusted to no hands but her 

No matter how absorbed she was in reading, or 
sewing, or conversation, she found time to slip away 
into the kitchen and prepare the famous Nantucket 
blackberry pudding, or the calf's head, or the corn 
soup. And during the summer she called it her 
privilege to pick the peas in the garden, and shell 
them for dinner each day. 

Before any one else was stirring in the house, she 
would be up and out in the cool, dewy morning, and 
by the time breakfast was ready — generally at seven ' 
o'clock — she would bring , in her basket of peas. 
Some of the family demurred, for a while, at this 
self-imposed labor, but when they found that she 



really seemed to derive bodily strength, as well as 
great enjoyment from the occupation, nothing more 
was said. She used to declare that nothing was so 
refreshing to her, as the odor of the moist earth in 
the early morning before the hot sun had parched it. 
Even a slight shower was no hindrance ; her tiny 
form could easily take shelter under the fragrant 
pea vines, and her garments were fitted for the ser- 
vice. She liked also to gather raspberries and black- 
berries, and in the summer afternoons she and her 
husband, she, hardly as tall as the vines, he, head 
and shoulders above them, were often to be seen in 
the garden at this pursuit. Then she would come 
into the house to receive visitors in the parlor, or read 
abstruse essays in the library, with equal ease, and 
apparently with equal interest, her husband continu- 
ing his out-door occupations. 

He was less of a reader than she, but always en- 
joyed a good book, and especially a good novel. I 
remember seeing him one rainy day sitting in his big 
chair close by the window, intently reading some new 
book. It was before they moved out of town. When 
dusk came on, he was stilt reading, and the gas was 
lighted earlier than usual, that he might continue ; 
when my bed-time came, — rather early in those 
days, — there he sat, still absorbed ; and at breakfast 
the next morning, he was the object of general rail- 
lery, because he would not confess at what hour in 
the night he had stopped. The magical book was 
44 Uncle Tom's Cabin," just published. Even our 
grandmother yielded to its influence, and listened 
without impatience to an occasional chapter, — she, 
who condemned novels, and wondered how any one 
could find them interesting. 



Our grandfather liked also to stroll about the place 
doing the many nothings which were nobody's special 
work, and which, when done, contributed so much to 
the general air of order and thrift. In summer he 
always carried with him a long handled weed-cut- 
ter, made after his own device, which enabled him, 
without bending over, to uproot at one thrust the 
weeds that disfigured the lawn. Even the ubiquitous 
plantain succumbed to his persistency. The little 
children of the family liked to accompany him in 
these wanderings, and to collect in little piles the 
weeds which he cut off. In their visits to Roadside, 
they were the devoted companions of this good and 
gentle grandfather. In the heat of noon, he would 
come into the house to read, or sit on the piazza in 
the great, table-armed chair, or even more frequently, 
spend the drowsy leisure under the shade of a favor- 
ite pear-tree, with his chair leaning back against its 
trunk. Then, in the afternoon, he would drive to the 
station, or to Germantown to do errands, or accom- 
pany our grandmother in her round of visits and 
meetings, and weddings. She was much in demand 
on such occasions. 

It is customary among Friends to appoint two 
persons of each sex to attend the marriage of mem- 
bers of the Society, to " see that good order is ob- 
served." If the parties concerned have any choice, 
the Meeting usually appoints those whom they desig- 
nate. In this way James and Lucretia Mott attended 
many weddings, in the latter part of their lives, and 
Lucretia Mott often said a few words after the cere- 
mony. Of her participation at such times, the Rev. 
William H. Furness says : — 

" On more than one occasion it was my privilege to offi- 



ciate at weddings where she was present, and when the 
marriage service was over she was moved to speak a word 
of counsel to the bridal pair ; and she discharged the office 
with such a grace, that all wedding ceremonies seemed un- 
finished when her benign voice was not heard there. I 
remember once how she told a young couple, that she owed 
the happiness of her wedded life to the fact that her hus- 
band and herself were one in a deep interest in the sacred 
cause of wronged humanity. Thus this deep interest, this 
hunger and thirst for right, was a well of life in her, mak- 
ing the present rich in happiness, and keeping her heart 

Even more acceptable was her presence in the house 
of mourning. Though, as she said in one of her let- 
ters, she " often shrank from giving utterance to the 
sympathy her heart prompted, so vain seem words of 
condolence," yet, notwithstanding this, she was pre- 
eminently a " comforter among mourners." Her 
thoughtful words of hope, as free from the affecta- 
tion of undue grief, and the irony of over-praise, as 
from coldness and indifference, found their way into 
sorrowing hearts like healing medicine. 

It is difficult to give a connected account of the 
lives of James and Lucretia Mott during the next 
ten years, sometimes in the quiet country retreat, 
sometimes in the whirl of the city ; at one time ap- 
parently engrossed by domestic duties, and then ab- 
sorbed in the day and night sessions of a fugitive 
slave's trial ; and again, in the happy circle of a fam- 
ily gathering. In this dilemma, it seems best to 
leave this checkered description to Lucretia Mott's 
letters. No matter how abruptly it changes from 
one subject to another, it cannot be more kaleido- 
scopic than was the life it describes. The letters are 



addressed mostly to her sister, Martha C. Wright, in 
Auburn, N. Y., and to her daughter, Martha M. Lord, 
after the latter went away from Roadside. 

In describing to her sister a visit that she had had 
from a cousin, whose views on most subjects, and par- 
ticularly on religious observances, differed essentially 
from her own, she says : — 

" The First-day that cousin M. was with us, I brought 
out one article at a time to work upon, not so much with 
reference to her Sunday piety, as to be consistent with my 
custom always on this day, not to have work-baskets about, 
or much going on ; but to make it a kind of leisure day, 
while at the same time not hesitating to do anything 
openly; never concealing work because a pious observer 

To my surprise, our cousin rather bore me out in it ; as 
people often would find the case, if they were not afraid of 
their shadows. She, in turn, told of writing letters on that 
day, while those who condemned her would snooze away 
the afternoon in idleness ; and asked which was worst." 

When Martha Wright replied to this, she related 
a little incident of her own experience. A friend of 
hers, whose intimate relations with the family gave 
her frequent opportunity to notice how superior 
were its regulations, said to her, " How much you 
do, Mrs. Wright, and yet how much leisure you 
have ! " To which she answered, " You forget that 
I have seven days a week, while you church people 
have only six." 

llth mo. 28th, 1858. 
... I received a letter from Fanny Kemble last week, 
written at her cousin's request, to inform us of the death of 
George Combe. We had already received a circular, bor- 
dered with deep black, announcing it. I had intended 



writing to Cecilia Combe, and delayed no longer. I also 
answered Fanny Kemble's letter. We felt his death as of 
one allied by strong ties of friendship. 

Her acquaintance with Mrs. Kernble dated from 
the early clays of the anti-slavery agitation, when 
sympathy with abolitionists was a stigma upon one's 
social repute. It was, therefore, a noted exception, 
when any one well known in the Belgravia of our 
cities, was bold enough to extend a friendly hand to 
these " disturbers of the public peace." Mrs. Kem- 
ble's surroundings were little calculated to encourage 
countenance to these " fanatics ; " but her warm 
heart and quick perceptions were soon awakened to 
the iniquity of the slave system, and notwithstand- 
ing her being assured that it was a blessing to the 
negro race, she did not hesitate to declare her abhor- 
rence of it. In company with the Rev. William H. 
Furness, always a valued friend of James and Lu- 
cre tia Mott, she sought an interview with them, to 
express her sympathy with their position, and from 
that time continued to show her kind feeling in many 
effective ways. They often spoke in admiration of 
her. Once, when my grandmother went with a 
friend to call on Mrs. Kernble, in her country home, 
they were entertained by being shown the beautiful 
grounds around the house. As they strolled along, 
Mrs. Kernble gathered flowers for her guests, and 
failing to find a string with which to tie them, with 
sudden and characteristic humor she snatched a hair- 
string from her own hair, saying, " Here, Mrs. Mott, 
I will tie these with the only thing a married wo- 
man can call her own." 



7th mo. 6th, 1858. 

. . . R B gives forth her views both on slavery 

and on woman, which are in the main good, but from not 
attending any of our meetings, nor reading our reports, she 
is ignorant, and thinks the advocates of these causes are as 
fanatical as the papers and popular opinion represent them. 
Some years ago, when speaking in a meeting in Richmond, 
Va., she introduced some remarks on anti-slavery, — some 
rose and left the room. She said, " Stop, friends ! I am 
no abolitionist." Later, having seen an account of this in 
the papers, I expressed my regret that she should pander 
to the pro-slavery prejudices of the people by such a dis- 
claimer. She replied to me, " Oh, my dear, I was not cor- 
rectly reported ; I said, c I am no modern abolitionist. ' " 
Now she knew no better than to suppose that would be a 
satisfactory explanation to me ! 

The misrepresentations of our opposers do us and the 
cause great harm. Having suffered for years by false 
witnesses having been suborned, makes me cautious how I 

receive the testimony of G , or any other, against P. A., 

Mrs F., the Spiritualists, or indeed any of the reform mono- 
maniacs. Anti-Slavery, after bearing misrepresentation for 
twenty -five years, is just beginning to have the truth 
spoken of its doings. Let each and all expound their own 
creed, and then let us judge righteous judgment. Miller is 
quite troubled that anti-slavery should be so mixed up with 
other and objectionable " isms." He thinks conservatism 
is needed, and that I ought to read and understand the views 
of those ultra free-love people, so as to give my influence 
against them. I do not feel called to such an ungracious 
task ; and as to reading what is distasteful, when there is so 
much of the deepest interest, which time fails me to peruse, 
I cannot do it. 




9th mo. 16th, 1858. 
My dear Cousin Mary, — I read thy late letter an- 
nouncing thy clear mother's ninetieth birthday, with no or- 
dinary interest. 1 The time is at hand, and had I any poetic 
genius, its fruits should be offered at her shrine. Were I 
gifted with the pen of a ready writer, thy honored mother, 
so well-beloved, should have its best production. As these 
are denied, she shall have proof from Holy Writ, that her 
" age shall be clearer than the noon-day." She " shall 
shine forth," and " shall be as the morning," and " shall be 
secure, because there is hope,'" and " shall take (her) rest 
in safety ; " because, to the trusting souls there is promise ; 
" Even to your old age, I am he ; and even to hoar hairs, 
I will carry you." How can we improve such a bless- 
ing ? . . . Ever, L. Mott. 

10th mo. 16th, 1858. 
... I am much pleased to hear of those young people 
who are willing to devote time and talent to the woman 
cause. But let not our faithful Susan B. Anthony abate 
one whit of her outspoken zeal ; nor E. C. Stanton one 
word of her vigorous writing. Lucy Stone is worth a dozen 
quiet workers. Give me noise on this subject ; a real Bo- 
anerges. It needs that the advocates of woman's rights 
should be thoroughly grounded, to be able to stand firm 
against all opposition, and ridicule, and misrepresentation. 
I agree with thee, as to Lucy Stone's right to her own 
name, if she choose to retain it ; while glad also, that An- 
toinette B. B. was independent enough not to be governed 
by Lucy's example, if she did not choose to. It has amused 
me to see the wrath of some, because of Lucy's retaining 
her name, and how it is made an excuse for having no more 
to do with the cause. . . . 

The acquaintance of James and Lucretia Motfc 

1 She was grandmother Coffin's next older sister, Phebe. 



with Robert Collyer began soon after the former 
moved into the country, Robert Collyer was then 
working in the hammer factory near by, and was a 
prominent class-leader in the little Methodist Church 
of the neighborhood. All the country-side talked of 
his eloquence and his extensive reading. They said 
he studied and read on his way to and from work. 
His own words best tell the story of his meeting my 
grandparents : — 

" It fell to my lot to find them in the latter years of 
their life together, and this was how I found them ; I was 
then living about a mile from a place they had bought in 
the suburbs of Philadelphia. 

" We had started a lyceum the previous winter in the 
school-house, and were hammering away at a great rate, as 
to which is the most beautiful, the works of art or the 
works of nature, and whether the negro or the Indian had 
received the worst usage at the hands of the white man, — 
a matter we could not settle, for the life of us, — when 
Mr. Davis, a son-in-law of James and Lucre tia Mott, came 
in, and before we knew what was coming plunged us head- 
long into the surging and angry tide of abolitionism. I was 
then, as I always had been, in favor of emancipation by 
practically letting the thing alone, or putting it away into 
the far future. He said no ; the thing should be done this 

" Then one night Lucretia Mott came in and poured out 
her soul on us, and I, for one, threw up my hands and said : 
' You are right. I fight henceforth under this banner.' 
After some weeks James Mott said : ' We want thee to 
come to our house,' and I went, as I had gone to the house 
of Mr. Davis. But I went with that sensitive pride a self- 
respecting working man always feels in such a case. I 
would stand no patronage, no condescension ; no, not in 
an accent. If I felt this, even in the atmosphere, they 


should go their way, and I should go mine. I found it was 
simply like going into another and ampler home of my 
own ; and this was not something they were doing care- 
fully and by concert ; it was natural as their life ; they had 
no room in their fine natures for any other thought. 

" This was how I came to know these Friends, and to be 
at last almost as one of their own kinsmen." 

To resume the letters : — 

12th mo. 27th, 1858. 

. . . Robert Collyer was here most of the afternoon, 
reading aloud with Edward, Buckle's " History of Civiliza- 
ion." Thou mays't have seen the reviews of it — only one 
volume published yet. William H. Furness, when I met 
him at the anti-slavery Fair, was enthusiastic in praise of it. 
J B says it will do more to break down supersti- 
tion and false theology than any other book that has been 
published these hundred and fifty years. 

Thy account of Starr King's lecture interested us. We 
have been greatly pleased with listening to R. W. Emer- 
son. His lecture on " The Law of Success " is full of 
gems. Collyer heard him for the first time, and was car- 
ried away with delight. He remembered so much yester- 
day, that we quite enjoyed hearing it over. I spoke to 
Emerson after the lecture, thanking him for it ; he replied, 
" I got some leaves out of your book," adding, " from 
your New Bedford friends." I remembered that his mind 
was enlightened beyond his pulpit and ordinances about 
the time of the enlightened Mary Newall's coming out, 
and I doubt not she had some influence on him. The only 
objection I found to his philosophy the other evening was 
his making Nature utilize everything — the bad as well 
as the good. That may be in the animal economy — but 
in morals, I told him, wickedness works only evil, and that - 
continually, and the only way was to destroy it with un- 
quenchable fire. Certain essays written last winter made 
good and evil, right and wrong, no longer antagonistic, but 



running in parallel lines. I do not understand it, and want 
no such quietus to the conscience. Buckle calls Free Will 
a metaphysical, while Predestination is a theological hy- 
pothesis or dogma. It was revolting to my moral sense 
years ago, when I heard Dr. Tyng at a Colonization Meet- 
ing say, that with all the cruelties of the slave-trade, the 
horrors of the middle passage, and the evils of slavery in 
this country, he was prepared to say that slavery and the 
slave-trade would yet be a blessing to Africa. At that 
time Liberia was held up as a great civilizer and evangel- 
izer to the nation. 

William Logan Fisher called here yesterday. He has 
been writing a new edition of his Sabbath book, now nearly 
ready for publication. He too has been reading Buckle, 
and objects to it as wanting in spirituality. Edward Davis 
is in raptures with the book, and is re-reading it now. 

3rd mo. 8th, 1859. 
. . . James and I have had a very satisfactory visit in 
Baltimore and Washington. Our meetings were large, and 
people kind and attentive. There was a pleasant reception 
at Dr. Bailey's on Seventh-day evening ; we saw — oh, so 
many ! We visited Miss Miner's school and the colored 
meeting ; also wasted time at the Capitol, looking at those 
lazy loungers, and listening to " Buncombe." We met there 
Jessie White Mario, who had brought letters of introduction 
to us from Professor Nichol of Glasgow University, and 
traveled with her as far as Baltimore, where she is to lec- 
ture Fifth-day evening. I no sooner reached Philadelphia 
than I went from Dan to Beersheba to make interest for 
her ; have since corresponded with her, and now think we 
shall get up a lecture or two for her in our city. She is an 
earnest, pleasing woman — a little too much " 'fight for 
Italy " — but how smart for her to undertake so much ! We 
are to have a visit from her and her husband, to whom she 
introduced us. Since our return we have been twenty 
miles up the country, holding anti-slavery meetings. The 



first ever held at Gwynned ! Mary Grew did admirably. 
Edward Davis joined us at Horsekam and brought me 
home. It did look so pleasant to see our long tea table. . . » 

5th mo., 1859. 

. . . Nothing could be more ill-judged than was the 
reading in the convention that evening, and nothiug more 
forced than thy sister's remarks following ; I was amused 
with the comment in the newspaper, that " there was noth- 
ing fresh " — which was a fact. To be set up to speak half 
an hour, with nothing special to inspire one at the time, is 
an infliction to the speaker, and a bore to the audience. I ' 
have great faith in our Quaker dependence upon the light 
within "to speak as the Spirit giveth utterance." Fixed 
speeches on such occasions are not to be compared to spon- 
taneous discussions. Wendell Phillips is, of course, always 
an exception. 

If you take the trouble to read the newspaper report, do 
correct where it makes me say " even the glowing views " ; 
it ought to be " gloomy views." And again, " the seed 
sowed by me in weakness ! " I never said by me ; not I ! 

In the spring of 1859 a colored man named Daniel 
Danger field (alias Webster) was seized on a farm 
near Harrisburg, on the charge of being a fugi- 
tive slave, and carried, handcuffed, to Philadelphia 
to be tried before the United States Commissioner. 
Previous to this year, and during the jurisdiction 
of Judge Kane and Commissioner Ingraham, such 
cases had generally resulted in the sending back of 
the fugitive to slavery ; but with the substitution 
of a new officer, a young man of Quaker antece- 
dents, the abolitionists were inspired with renewed 

They engaged eminent counsel for the benefit of 
Dangerfield, and after a trial of absorbing interest, 


- — lasting all one day, through that night, and into 
the next day, — he was released. Mary Grew, who 
was present, related some of the incidents of this 
exciting scene as follows : — 

" Anti-slavery men and women thronged the court-room, 
sat through weary hours of the day and the night, and 
walked home in the dawning light of the next morning, 
sad and hopeless. 

" The fact that Mrs. Mott's seat was near to the prisoner 
so disturbed the equanimity of the chief counsel of the 
claimant, that he caused it to be moved ; but it was quickly 
replaced by one of the opposing lawyers. There really 
seemed to be no cause for alarm. Mrs. Mott was known 
to be a non-resistant ; police officers sufficiently armed were 
in attendance on the prisoner ; his claimants and their 
counsel were close at hand. That the mild-looking Quaker 
lady had unseen power to effect a rescue of their victim 
was highly improbable. Yet in the presence of that im- 
personation of righteousness, and sympathy with the vic- 
tims of wrong, the strong man quailed. The decree of the 
Commissioner, J. Cooke Longstreth, set Dangerfield at lib- 

Speaking of this trial, almost twenty years after- 
wards, Lucretia Mott said : — 

" About that time our anti-slavery women were often at 
the courts. On this occasion, several of us, and some men, 
were in waiting in a small basement under the court-room, 
corner of Fifth and Chestnut sts. Commissioner Long- 
streth sat at the table writing. 

" Knowing him as a birthright member of the Society of 
Friends, I ventured to step forward, and, in an undertone, 
expressed to him the earnest hope that his conscience would 
not allow him to send this poor man into slavery. He re- 
ceived it civilly ; but replied that he must be bound by his 
oath of office, — or words to that effect, — as nearly as I 



can remember. This line of the poet came to my mind, 
which I simply repeated, and said no more, — 

' But remember 
The traitor to humanity, is the traitor most accursed.' 

When the man was brought in, a great crowd was collected 
inside and out, and a rush was made for the court-room, 
when a son of Judge Kane came and offered to conduct 
me in. The Commissioner had an anxious countenance, 
and looked pale. The case occupied the remainder of the 
day and all the night, several women remaining until morn- 
ing. It was evident that the Commissioner wished to favor 
the poor man as far as he could, and finally he decided 
that as the height of the man did not agree with the testi- 
mony of the claimant, he could not be given up. 

" This is the only case in which I ever interfered in any 
trial by our courts, further than to shelter the fugitives." 

Even after Dangerfield was released, it seemed 
questionable if lie could be saved from the rabble, 
who, sympathizing with the South, surged up and 
down the street outside the court-room, and threat- 
ened to deliver him over to the master from whom 
he had just escaped. 

But a band of young men, who also had sat 
through the trial, biding their time, — most of them 
Quaker boys, who had grown up under the inspiring 
influence of the abolitionists, — were even more de- 
termined that Dangerfield should retain his hard- J 
won freedom, and they succeeded in baffling the 
crowd, by escorting another colored man, who re- 
sembled him, to a carriage and driving him off; 
while the real Dangerfield quietly walked out and 
away, in the company of some of his friends, to 
a retired place where a conveyance awaited him. 
Thence he was taken to an unsuspected station of 



the famous " Underground Railroad," 1 and in a few 
days was safe in Canada. 

Two years later the same Quaker boys were en- 
gaged in the larger contest of the Civil War, bring- 
ing to it the same determined advocacy of right and 
resistance of wrong. 

Soon after this celebrated case, the Rev. Wm. H. 
Furness, of Philadelphia, made it the subject of a 
sermon, from which I extract the following para- 
graph, which alludes to Lucretia Mott's connection 
with it : — 

" I looked the other day into that low, dark, and crowded 
room, in which one of the most wicked laws that man ever 
enacted was in process of execution, and there I beheld the 
living presence of that Spirit of Christ, out of which shall 
again grow the beautiful Body of Christ, the true Church. 

" The close and heated atmosphere of the place well be- 
came the devilish work that was going on. The question 
was, whether, for no crime, but for the color of the skin 
which God gave him, a fellow-man should be robbed of his 
dear liberty, and degraded to a chattel and a brute. 

" There sat the man in his old hat and red flannel shirt 
and ragged coat, just as he was seized by the horrible des- 
potism. There he sat, while questions were discussed in- 
volving things dearer to him than life. On one side of him 
stood the minister of the cruel law. On the other — the 
place was luminous to my soul with a celestial light — for 
there stood a devoted Christian woman, blind to all out- 
ward distinctions and defacements, deaf to the idle babble 
of the world's tongues, cheering her poor hunted brother 
with the sisterly sympathy of her silent presence. 

" And as I looked upon her, I felt that Christ was there ; 
that no visible halo of sanctity was needed to distinguish 

1 The country seat of Morris L. Hallowell, eight miles distant from the 



that simple act of humanity, done under such circumstances, 
as an act preeminently Christian, profoundly sacred, inef- 
fably religious." 

A striking instance of her power over others, even 
over those most prejudiced against her, is given in 
an incident of this trial. Benjamin H. Brewster, 1 
the counsel for the Southern master, met her son-in- 
law, Edward Hopper, one of the advocates on the 
side of Dangerfield, and said, " I have heard a great 
deal of your mother-in-law, Hopper, but I never saw 
her before to-day. She is an angel." 

It is also related of this same gentleman, several 
years after, on his changing his political opinions, 
and being asked how he dared make the change, that 
he replied, " Do you think there is anything I dare 
not do, after facing Lucretia Mott in that court- 
room, and knowing she wished me in hell ! " Had 
he known her better, he could not have said that ; 
and still it is hardly to be wondered at, for I recol- 
lect well the stern expression of her countenance, as 
she steadfastly watched him, while he made his able 
argument on the wrong side. 

In the next autumn came the "great awakening" 
shock of John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry, and 
the tragedy that followed. 

During some of the anxious days preceding his 
trial, his poor wife found sympathetic friends in 
James and Lucretia Mott, who took her to their quiet 
country home, and gave her what comfort they could. 
The letters relating to these events are not to be 
found. Being of unusual general interest, they were 
sent to the farthermost branches of the family tree, 

1 The present United States Attorney-General. 



and were lost sight of. But we do not need them to 
remind us of the stormy excitement which took pos- 
session of the whole country, and which in the South, 
only a few months later, rose into active rebellion. 

It was a trying time to the abolitionists, but it 
proved to be the dark before the dawn. When the 
time came that winter for the annual anti-slavery 
Fair to be held, a leading newspaper of Philadelphia 
went so far as to ask its readers if they meant to 
permit it to be opened ; but the abolitionists were 
not to be intimidated by such appeals to mob law, 
and the Fair began as usual, only in a larger and 
more prominent hall than before. 

One of those 1 nearly concerned in its welfare 
wrote : — 

" Our Annual Fair was in quiet and successful progress, 
when we were surprised by an order from the mayor of the 
city to take down our flag. Its picture of the old Liberty 
Bell, with the well known inscription, 4 Proclaim liberty 
throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof,' was 
regarded as an incitement to riot. 

" This action was soon followed by the entrance of the 
sheriff, who took possession of the hall, locked its doors, 
and thus closed the business of the Fair. The managers 
assembled in the room to take counsel together, and decide 
upon the best suitable course for them to pursue. 

"Mrs. Mott spoke in reply to the statements of the 
sheriff and his lawyer. She said that she was glad to hear 
her friend, Mr. Gilpin, express regret for this occurrence ; 
she well remembered some service of his rendered to the 
anti-slavery cause in earlier days ; that we did not re- 
proach the officers for their part in this affair, we were so 
sorry for them that they held offices which obliged them to 
perform such deeds." 

1 Mary Grew. 



In obedience to an order from the sheriff to re- 
move their property within three hours, on the plea 
that " the hall had been rented for a purpose which 
tended to excite popular commotion," the managers 
transferred their goods to the Assembly Buildings, 
which were at once opened to them, in brave dis- 
regard of popular prejudice. Here they held their 
Fair, and the meetings in connection with it, with 
great success, for the remainder of the week. 

The mob, so recklessly invoked by the newspapers, 
instead of attacking the Fair, directed its violence 
against an assembly in National Hall, gathered to 
listen to a lecture by George Wm. Curtis, upon the 
" Present Aspect of the Country." As fearless as 
in their younger days, James and Lucretia Mott at- 
tended this meeting, and occupied seats on the plat- 

Here follow various short, but characteristic ex- 
tracts, which need neither date nor special comment ; 
after which the letters are given in regular order. 

" How often have I thought when walking hy our State 
House in Chestnut Street, with a dozen errands to do, and 
there have seen hundreds of idle men standing about, — 
their wives meantime probably working hard at home, — 
that these men had the name of supporting their fam- 
ilies ! " . . . 

" Common honesty is so rare that great praise is be- 
stowed where justice only should be recognized." . . . 

" Has n't learned better than to be disobliging to 

because he had been so ? I never forgot how hard it 

seemed to me, when I was a little girl, for my grandmother 
to tell me she had intended to let me ride up to the field 
with grandfather on the load of hay, if I had not been 
naughty. What I had done left no impression, but her 



unkindness I could n't forget ; for it would have been the 
height of happiness to go with him in those rare days of a 
drive." . . . 

" Everything needs watching. I just ran out and pulled 
off the clothes-pins, and let down the wet clothes, which 
were blowing to pieces in the high wind ; after all I had 
said about not putting them out in a gale ; but if we 
changed help for such things, as E. does, and as she won- 
ders I don't, other things would be as bad. Mother used 
to say, ' You only change faults.' " 

..." I went into town yesterday with your father to do 

countless errands, and to call on . Only Mrs. 

at home, who would rather not see her friends that day ; 
perhaps some special reminder of her dear child. Having 
missed the horse-car, and thereby walked four-and-a-half 
squares, after a seven-mile-drive, it was rather a disap- 
pointment to be denied; though she did not know who 
called. I left my name ; and 't was a satisfaction as I 
turned away, that I had never sent any one from our 
door." . . . 

..." I have suffered so much of late with dyspepsia, 
that James and our children think I am not able to so to 
the Convention, but I have never yet seen the time that an 
engagement had to be broken." 

Roadside, 3rd mo. 12th, 1860. 
My dear Sister, — ... Miller and Sarah came over 
in the evening. Our talk was partly, Greeley and Robert 
Dale Owen on Marriage and Divorce. Some of us thought 
Owen defended himself well ; others said Greeley had the 
best of the argument. The next spirited discussion was on 
Seward's speech. Miller thought we ought to judge of it 
from Seward's stand-point. So much was said in its praise, 
that I anticipated a treat, being generally the last to read 
these spicy articles. It was a damper for him at the out- 
set, to desire " to allay, rather than foment the national ex- 



citement," and to say that " the public welfare and happi- 
ness depend chiefly on institutions, and very little on men." 
Mary Grew thought that very unsound. We talked it over 
at our Female Anti-Slavery meeting on Fifth-day. I had 
taken some notes of the objectionable parts, and com- 
mented upon them, while uniting with the praise bestowed 
upon other parts of the well-prepared speech. I spoke at 
some length, warning them against unqualified praise of 
his speech, especially as the negro was so disparaged. It 
seemed unexpected, but little reply was made. I looked 
for the " Anti-Slavery Standard's " comments, hoping that 
paper would not wait for the " Liberator," and was far 
from satisfied that " want of room excluded " them. When 
that severe criticism in " The Liberator " was read, how 
glad was I that Garrison reviewed it as my instincts had 
led me to do — and with all the faithful rebuke that ever 
flows from his pen. You will see that. I need not, there- 
fore, say more. 

. . . Thank thee for that extract from Mr. Mellen's let- 
ter. That is just right, after a life well spent, when old 
age and decay of faculties render it no longer desirable to 
live ; but it is unnatural to be longing for death in the full- 
ness of strength, when all the pleasures of life are within 
our reach. Of course aunt C.'s death is " a subject of con- 
gratulation ; " and still, there is sadness in the thought 
that death is a welcome messenger to any who are born to 
live, /mean to live as long as I can. . . . 

Fare thee well, dear sister, L. Mott. 

5th mo. 28th, 1860. 
. . . The barbarous, brutal prize-fight, which has so cor- 
rupted the public mind, and so filled our daily columns, 
demoralizing the young, should serve as a caution to par- 
ents and the guardians of morals, how they countenance 
any play or scientific exercise that is warlike or fighting 
in its tendency. The more I see of the restrictive edu- 



cation of Friends, on this subject, as well as its discourage- 
ment of games of chance, and even of skill, with their 
temptations to gambling, the more I admire the wisdom of 
our Fathers in placing such safeguards around their chil- 
dren, and teaching them in their school-books, that 

" Needful austerities our wills restrain, 
As thorns protect the tender plant from harm." 

That is the kind of religious education encouraged by our 

. . . They will be saddened again in Boston, by the in- 
telligence just received of Theodore Parker's death ! It is 
truly mournful that such a gifted spirit should be so early 
removed from earth, where he was so much needed. To 
meet the wants of the age, he undertook too much for any 
man. The last time we had his company at our house in 
Arch Street, he was telling us of the works he had on 
hand, and the research necessary to complete them. I 
cautioned him then not to overtax his powers of endur- 
ance, little dreaming we should so soon hear of a fatal re- 
sult of his great labors. It is too sad to dwell upon, when 
we have so many around us who are but cumberers of the 
earth. We have had a succession of melancholy deaths, 
thinning our anti- slavery ranks: Ellis Gray Loring, 
Charles Hovey, Eliza Lee Follen, and now Theodore Par- 
ker. Who will fill such blanks ? 

10th mo. 8th, 1860. 
. . . James and I dined at Edward Wetherill's in Frank- 
ford, in company with Harriet Beecher Stowe. We were 
pleased with her rather diffident, agreeable manner. She 
was much interested in the account James gave her of your 
asylum at Auburn. It was what she Md long wished to 
see. She said, she thought that criminals were often made 
so by defective organization, as well as by neglect ; and we 
should find the Professor's story in the " Atlantic " went 
to that point. I can't remember just her words. . . . 



11th mo. 16th, 1860. 
. . . How much some of us have had to bear, for step- 
ping out of Disciplinary — in other words — narrow, secta- 
rian inclosure, in order to attend conventions, anti-slavery 
lectures, and fairs ! Our Monthly Meeting sometimes oc- 
curs during Fair week. Some think it inexcusable, to ab- 
sent one's self for such " profane babbling." Our conven- 
tion on the whole was a success ; but the reporters grossly 
misrepresented us, giving some reason for Wm. L. Fisher 
(who does not go to our meetings) to rave almost, at the 
hard language of the abolitionists. Robert Purvis has tried 
to set himself right before the public ; for the reporters 
made him rant without reason. Miller McKim has been 
quite troubled about it, and has written cards and expla- 
nations. But it is no new thing ; and through long-suffer- 
ing, we are able to bear abuse. . . . 

12th mo. 14th, 1860. 
. . . The Fair is going on swimmingly, in spite of Union 
meetings. Some five or six policemen are sitting about 
the room ; just as if they were needed ! There has not 
been the slightest disturbance ; the only insult, the tearing 
out of the word " slavery " from the large placard at the 
door. We immediately replaced it. . . . 

This Anti-Slavery Fair, the twenty-fifth of the 
series, and, as it afterwards proved, the next to last, 
was again held in the Assembly Buildings, the place 
which had so fearlessly given it shelter the year be- 
fore. Much violence was threatened during its four 
days' continuance, but, as one of its managers said, 
" Our victory was complete, and our right of peace- 
ful assemblage maintained, without any active dem- 
onstration of hostility from the indignant citizens 
who had fiercely resolved that the Anti-Slavery Fair 
should, be suppressed." 

Roadside, 1st mo. 15th, 1861. 
My deau Sister, — In a hurried note sent a few days 


ago, the promise was made to begin a regular sheet soon. 
So now, after a busy morning, the pleasant occupation is 
left of devoting a little time to thee, aud answering some of 
thy inquiries. . . . 

We took tea lately at Miller's. There was not much 
variety in our subjects of conversation, for the political out- 
look is all-absorbing. Secession, civil war, compromises. 
Do you think the Republicans will, after all, make un- 
worthy compromises ? Seward went quite far enough in 
that direction, though all did not agree with me here. 
But so lacking are all these political speeches, in a feeling 
heart for the slave. . . . 

Sister Eliza has to be very careful ; this cold weather 
affects her, and she dreads going out ; while I can go into 
town, and walk three or four miles — not all at once — and 
scarcely feel it ; and yet I suffer much with dyspepsia, 
nearly every day. I have received a letter asking my par- 
ticipation in the Albany convention ; but James says I am 
not well enough to go there. I know my " cipher 99 days 
are upon me ; and as to presiding at the convention, it is 
impossible ; neither could there be any dependence on my 
speaking, for I am wofully behind the times on the Woman 
question. . . . 

We are all much interested in the great theological 
movement which you may have seen noticed in the " At- 
lantic Monthly " — " Essays and Reviews " by seven of the 
clever liberals of Oxford, all clergymen opposed to Pusey ; 
and frightening also the Evangelical or Low Church party, 
as " menacing a division in the church." James has bought 
the book, a thick octavo ; it sells rapidly. And how much 
more interesting it is to me than any of your novels ! 
Some one who read it expressed surprise that it should 
make such a sensation, when William Furness had preached 
such doctrines these thirty years. As far as I have read, 
it is not equal to one of my pet books, " Popular Chris- 
tianity," by Frederick J. Foxton. But then he was a real 
come-outer, thoroughly radical, yet fervently religious. 



Roadside, 3rd mo. 21st, 1861. 
. . . M.'s cautions and advice are all very good, and I 
hope will be attended to ; we cannot say so much of her po- 
litical leanings. To think of her saying the " South is the 
bone and sinew of the country," and " the firmest supporter 
of the Democratic cause ! " when they have ever looked 
down on labor of any kind, calling the free Northern indus- 
trial workmen " the mud-sills of society." What encourage- 
ment have they ever given to universal education ? even 
leaving out of view the millions of their bondmen, whom no 
true democrat could trample under foot, denying their every 
right, as they do. No, they send their own white sons to 
West Point at the government expense, for a military and 
aristocratic education, and leave the people and children 
at large in the grossest ignorance. M. must view Democ- 
racy only in a partisan light. I agree with her in much of 
her estimate of the pseudo-democracy of the Whig party, 
and am very jealous of the Republican party, as such. If 
Jefferson had only carried out his democracy consistently, 
he would certainly have been a model democrat. Our re- 
public is beginning to open its eyes to the rights of man ; 
may they never again be suffered to close until " liberty be 
proclaimed throughout the land, to all the inhabitants there- 
of." As to compensation, it is of secondary importance ; I 
would oppose it on principle, as belonging to the slaves 
rather than to those who have exacted their labor, extorted, 
too often, by cruel taskmasters with scourges and stripes. 
. . . My sister's dissatisfaction with Seward's " backing 
down," his compromising spirit toward slave - holders — 
even expressing a willingness to strengthen their oppressive 
power — proves that she is not so carried away by party 
preferences as to impair her judgment as an abolitionist ; 
and I am far from satisfied with Lincoln's inaugural. Far 
better let the rebellious states go, than coax them back with 
any cruel promise. . . . 


On the tenth, of Fourth Month, 1861, James and 
Lucretia Mott celebrated their Golden Wedding. 

" Fifty years of joy and sorrow." 
On this bright sunny day in Spring the large family, 
and many friends from far and near, assembled at 
Roadside to do honor to the venerable bride and 
groom. Children, grandchildren, and one tiny great- 
grandchild, were there ; and of the one hundred and 
twenty -five witnesses who, fifty years before, had 
signed the wedding certificate in Pine Street meet- 
ing, three of the twenty still living were present to 
record their names in renewed recognition of the 
solemnity of the marriage tie. The old document, 
parchment yellow with age, was brought out, and 
again read aloud ; and then all present appended 
their names to a testimonial on the obverse side, 
which ran : — ■ 

"James and Lucretia Mott having completed fifty years 
of married life, we, the undersigned, assembled on this 
tenth day of April, 1861, to celebrate their Golden Wed- 
ding, joyfully record here our names, in loving and respect- 
ful tribute to them, who have given to us, and to the world, 
another illustration of the beauty and glory of true mar- 

Much curiosity was excited among those who 
signed the venerable document concerning a part, — 



some of the blank part, towards one edge, — which 
had been cut out ; and various were the comments, 
when Lucretia Mott explained that she had commit- 
ted the sacrilege, some forty years before, in order to 
mend a broken battle door for one of her children. 
No other piece of parchment could be found, so she 
took that ! ! 

A substantial lunch followed the ceremony of sign- 
ing ; after which this pleasant and memorable cele- 
bration was concluded by the presentation of gifts, 
— among them a neat little set of gold knitting-nee- 
dles, which did active service afterwards, — and the 
reading of various poetical tributes. 

The following letters continue the narrative of the 
next few years, and are introduced without comment, 
except where explanation seems necessary. The first 
was written during the first year of the Civil War, 
and refers to it. 

llth mo. 6th, 1861. 
. . . But how trifling are all these family items when 
our thoughts and hearts are full of the great events of the 
day. I feel almost ready to despair of any good result 
from the present outbreak. We know full well, that the 
battle-field is a precarious resort to obtain the Right — that 
sorrows multiply there ; and as to the moral sense of cor- 
rupt statesmen, it is " seared as with a hot iron." Such 
spirited protests as we have read may reach some con- 
sciences and arouse the nation, and after a long, long while 
liberty may be proclaimed. There has seemed to be rather 
a stolid determination of late, among a class of politicians, 
that this war shall have nothing to do with Slavery. " The 
Union, and nothing but the Union/' is their cry — as if 
that were ever again possible, with the deplorable weight 
of that incubus upon it. Time alone will reveal to us. 
Petitions should now be poured in from all quarters, so 


that those in power may see how unavailing is their pro- 
slavery conservatism. It only lays the foundation for fu- 
ture trouble and fighting, when for reputation " to please 
men," they seek to " build again the things they are called 
to destroy. " 

Blanco White, my loved, ultra author, says : " Re- 
formers ought to be satisfied to be destructives. They are 
too apt to wish to be co?istructives." Thy account of your 
absorbing interest in preparing Willy, 1 and your parting 
with him, was all interesting. I knew there would be 
much to feel at last. A strange thing it is, that the glories 
of war can, in any wise, reconcile one to the perils. It is 
in vain to say much on the subject now, but my convic- 
tions are as strong as ever, that a better and more effectual 
way will be found as civilization advances. 

Soon after this, and while most of the households 
of the North were absorbed in the departure of hus- 
bands and sons to the war, the first serious break for 
many years occurred in the large family circle, in the 
death of the eldest grandchild, Lucretia Mott Hop- 
per, just before her twenty-fourth birthday. Of this 
her grandmother writes : — 

Roadside, 1st mo. 12th, 1862. 
My dear Sister, — Alas ! no Lue, precious invalid, to 
write about. How entirely gone from us, she is ! At least 
so far as daily solicitude for her is concerned. I feel at 
times as if in spirit she may be much nearer to us than we 
imagine. We have so long been taught to think of Heaven 
as a far off place, that the nearness of the departed spirits 
is not realized. And because we fail to dwell on it as a 
known fact, G. L. exclaims, " How little faith you folks 
have ! " I tell him sectarian theologies and speculations 
should not be called faith. It is because we have so much 
faith, and a firm trust that all will be well, that we indulge 
no vain curiosity as to " what we shall be." Thou thought 
1 Martha Wright's oldest son, who had enlisted. 



it a pity that Lue and her mother could not talk freely of 
her approaching death. Anna did answer her honestly 
that she was no better; but she could say no more. Dr. 
Holmes warned his students against interfering with the 
ways of Providence, who conceals the end from the patient. 
It would be a satisfaction now if she had alluded more 
plainly to it. But when Sue said to me a few weeks ago, 
" Oh, I want to get well," I had not the courage, any more 
than her mother, to say, " It is impossible." 

Anna was far from well — had slight chills, and some 
fever before Lue's death. But she bore up until after the 
funeral, which was quite private, and since then has been 
confined to her bed, with a nervous fever. . . . 

to m. c. vr. 

Roadside, 12th 1110. 27th, 1862. 
... I was very glad to hear of the success of your new 
church, and hope Mr. Fowler will be as radical a preacher 
as his highest and best convictions will prompt. What 
does he think of Bishop Colenso's daring with the Penta- 
teuch ? I wonder who " T. L." is, in the " Tribune." Are 
you interested ? I am, in the fact that the Church is thus 
agitated, after all the Oxford stir with Tracts, etc. ; and 
that it is no longer a solitary Blanco White, followed by a 
Newman and a Foxton, but that seven essayists came upon 
them in a body ; and now, to them still worse, a bishop 
and a missionary. How easy it is raise the cry of an- 
other Voltaire or Paine " come to judgment." But it is 
not so easy, blessed be our age of free inquiry, skepticism 
being a religious duty, to frown down investigation into the 
dogmatic theology of the schools. Edward D. brought out 
Colenso's book. The introduction interested us much, 
but not the examination, having passed through that pe- 
riod years ago ; when, as Ripley (we presume), the re- 
viewer in the " Tribune," says, Professor Norton gave sim- 
ilar results to the world, conservative as he was, and 


intimates that the Bishop may have received some ideas 
from him. I am greatly interested in the onward move- 
ment of the various sects. A Scotchman of their church, 
Presbyterian, sent us a work on the Trinity, disproving it, 
which I should like to pass over to Mr. Fowler; having 
long since been at rest myself on that irrational creed. 
Thy account of your sparse meetings of the new Freedmen 
Association amused us. But if one can chase a thousand, 
when the Lord is on the side, you need not be discouraged. 
Edwd. D. went with me last week to our Friends' Associa- 
tion meeting, and found a very busy company there. 

The visit from Samuel J. May, and your talk, interested 
me. I agree with him that this terrible war will furnish 
ample illustration, for the advocates of moral warfare, as 
against carnal weapons. Strange that any argument is 
needed. This, of course, our nation or government has 
not attained unto. The fact that the cause is glorious 
does not sanctify the means ; the resort to bloodshed is 
barbarous, besides making the innocent suffer for the 

What I most fear, as I answered James Freeman Clarke, 
when he said, " The Lord reigns," is, that the superstitious 
idea that " it is in the hands of the Almighty," will cause 
indolence, and that the effective instrument, the moral la- 
borer, will cease from the exertions which have already 
abolished slavery in the District of Columbia, and in all 
future territories. . . . 

Early in the following summer, George W. Lord 
formed a business engagement in New York, that ne- 
cessitated his removal with his family to that city. 
The final departure of his wife, Martha, the young- 
est daughter of James and Lucretia Mott, from the 
home of her parents, was a severe trial to all con- 
cerned, even though the change was a prosperous 
one. Her mother's next letter to her sister is full of 



regret over the separation, as well as of interest in 
the better prospects for her children, but she espe- 
cially laments over the diminished household. After 
enumerating those of the family who were left, she 
says : — 

" We appreciate them, but we want all. How we are 
going to do without Patty, I do not know ! 

..." After the heart-breaking is a little over, — I am so 
like our mother, ready for a change, — I shall be quite in 
haste to go help Patty furnish the littlest house they can 
possibly rent." . . . 

TO M. C. W. 

Roadside, 2nd mo. 28th, 1863. 

This month shall not go by without a sheet begun, 
though for more than six weeks I have lacked energy to 
engage in anything but carpet rags. Maria and Patty cut 
all we had collected, filling our large clothes-basket. All 
the balls thou sent we re-wound, adding a piece to those 
that were cut too narrow, and interspersing all those lit- 
tle brown balls. I almost lived over again some of those 
old sewing days in Auburn, the familiar pieces like your 
dresses so kept you in mind. Our brother Thomas was a 
visitor with you at the same time, when I sewed, up in that 
entry ; thy Frank was a baby, and thou would come walk- 
ing slowly up with him in thy arms, saying, " I know a re- 
spectable woman who is tired." . . . We have thirty-two 
balls, about twenty-four lbs., put into the dark closet to-day. 

What did thou think of 's hailing McClellan's ad- 
vent as a "godsend?" What an amount of good he would 
bring out of all the evil of our supine government ! I told 
him so, but he declared it " sound philosophy " neverthe- 
less. Could I so regard it, we might all fold our hands 
and await " God's own appointed time." Such philosophy, 

or heresy, is fraught with immense danger. defended 

himself for joining the Union League, we being very 
doubtful whether it would be anti-slavery enough to war- 



rant his crying " a confederacy." He thinks it is, and says 
there is an amazing change taking place among politi- 
cians. . . . 

When thou comes, dear sister, we three will try to be 
together often, for my day seems at times to be nearly 
over ; 1 but I shall patch up, and mean to live as long as I 
can. Our next family meeting is to make holders ; then 
I have a little wool to card, and some quilting of skirts, for 
I do not like balmorals. 

In another letter, written several months after the 
foregoing, she again mentions her feeble condition: — 

" Like thy friend who £ meant to live as long as she 
could,' I, too, have some things I want to do yet; and when 
people look at and treat me as if I had 'one foot in 
the grave,' I feel disposed to say — like the children — 
' No, you don't ! ' My health is better this summer than 
last." . . . 

She then says : — 

" The neighboring camp seems the absorbing interest 
just now. Is not this change in feeling and conduct to- 
wards this oppressed class beyond all that we could have 
anticipated, and marvelous in our eyes ? " . . . 

This camp — bearing the peaceful Quaker name 
of William Penn — was situated within a short dis- 
tance of Roadside. It was organized early in the 
year 1863, for the purpose of raising and training 
colored troops, and sent many regiments to the field. 
While Lucretia Mott strongly disapproved of war 
and its attendant barbarities, she nevertheless could 
not resist the interest that this public acknowledg- 
ment of the negro's rights as a soldier called forth. 
As an abolitionist, she gave the movement her sym- 
pathy, but as an advocate of peace, she condemned 

1 She outlived both sisters; Eliza ten years, and Martha almost seven. 



any resort to carnal weapons. With these conflict- 
ing feelings, she seldom visited the camp, and seemed 
indifferent to its affairs as a military body ; but she 
found many chances to befriend its inmates, both of- 
ficers and privates, as individuals. And few liked 
better than she to listen to the music of the band, 
as it came softened over the fields. 

One or two of the regiments, as they left for the 
seat of war, marched in at the back gate of Roadside, 
and out at the front, in order to pass directly by the 
house. On one of these occasions, as they were 
heard approaching, our grandmother ran quickly to 
the cake-box, and emptied its contents into her 
apron ; then standing at the end of the piazza, as 
the men filed along, she handed each a gingerbread, 
until the supply was exhausted. 

Camp William Penn naturally attracted many coL 
ored visitors from the city, and materially increased 
the travel over the North Penn. Railroad and the 
connecting Fifth and Sixth streets line of horse-cars. 
For the convenience of this class of passengers, who 
were not allowed to ride in the inside of the regular 
horse-cars, every fifth car was reserved for their ex- 
clusive use. If they took the others, they were com- 
pelled by the rules of the company to stand upon 
the outside platforms. One stormy day a respect- 
able colored woman, in very evident poor health, 
entered one of these, and, as usual, was sent by the 
conductor to stand on the front platform. Lucretia 
Mott, who was in the car, after a vain appeal to the 
man, went out and stood beside her. A drizzling 
rain was falling, and it was very cold. The con- 
ductor viewed the proceeding with official indiffer- 
ence, until the remonstrances of the other occupants 


obliged him to invite his white passenger to re-enter. 
She replied, " I cannot go in without this woman." 
Perplexed by this new issue, he gazed at her for 
a minute, and then said, " Oh well, bring her in 
then ! " 

It may not be amiss to say here, that shortly after 
this, on the ninth of First mo., 1865, an order was 
issued by this railway company, allowing colored 
persons to ride indiscriminately in all its cars. This 
led to much trouble and annoyance. The company, 
judging by the records, would seem to have tried 
faithfully to carry out the new arrangement,' but 
the force of prejudice and popular opinion was so 
strong against it, that on the tenth of the follow- 
ing month they rescinded the resolution. Meantime, 
however, it had been noted on the minutes, " Pas- 
sengers refusing to ride cannot have their fare re- 
funded," and " Conductors treating colored persons 
with any want of respect shall be instantly dis- 
missed ; " but, as one of the officers said, they 4i con- 
sidered that every nigger they carried for seven cents 
cost them a dollar, and as theirs was not a company 
for moral instruction, they were obliged, in the inter- 
est of their stockholders, to yield to popular preju- 
dice." After the passage of the Fifteenth Amend- 
ment, popular prejudice gradually faded away ; and 
as no further record regarding colored people is 
found on the minutes of this company, it is to be 
presumed that the rights, so long denied, were as- 
sumed without serious opposition. 

The next two letters are to Martha C. Wright : — 

Roadside, 8th mo. 26th, 1863. 
. . . Hast thou seen "The Religious Demands of the 
Age?" — the preface to the London edition of Theodore 



Parker's works, by Frances Power Cobbe, just published 
in Boston. Edwd. D. brought the book out a present to 
me, which I prize. It is real Quaker doctrine revived. A 
quotation from Bishop Colenso on the title-page recom- 
mending, not to build our faith upon a book, though it be 
the Bible itself ; God being closer than any book. Fanny 
Kemble's book, " Journal of a Residence on a Georgia 
Plantation," is also interesting us. Elizabeth is now ab- 
sorbed in it, while I write. . . . 

James and I gathered three or four quarts of blackber- 
ries this morning from our garden. They are getting scarce, 
but peaches will soon take their place ; a beautiful succes- 
sion of fruits, — and of everything else, indeed ; — but con- 
stant attention is the price one pays, and weeds and briers 
the penalty. 

Roadside, 1st mo. 21st, 1864. 

My dear Sister, — Our large family is scattered to- 
day — some have gone to the city — Maria and Patty to 
visit their dear sister at Eddington. James and I are left 
nearly alone, and how better can I employ my leisure thaD 
in writing to thee ? 

In replying to my last letter, thou mistakes me, in pre- 
suming that at Laura's wedding, war's trappings made the 
scene a whit more imposing than a rational citizen's dress. 
No ; it seems childish for men grown to rig out in that 
style. Of course we become accustomed to all these uni- 
forms, which meet us at every turn. The anti-slavery 
sentiment is spreading ; not by battles with carnal weap- 
ons, but by the mighty " armor of righteousness on the 
right hand and on the left." It is no evidence of incon- 
sistency, to be glad when the right is uppermost in the 
army, even if your dependence is not on the arm of flesh. 

At thy instance, I made myself read " A Man without a 
Country." The point or moral is good, and it is very well 
told ; natural to the life ; but made-up stories do not inter- 
est me, as do plain matters of fact ; still, I always like to 
be told what is worth reading in the periodicals. 



I have just read Pierce Butler's story of his married 
life. What an illustration it furnishes of the evil of the 
church service requiring obedience of the wife ! The man 
really could not conceive how any woman could demur at 
such a demand. He was not a fool either, as I inclined to 
think he was, before reading his letters, some of which are 
very good; and he was sorely tried at times by his ex- 
citable wife. Another illustration of the evils of slavery, 
that he so feared the conscientious expression of her abhor- 
rence of the system. If we had read " Kinglake," I might 
respond to thy comments. James will read it some day, if 
his eyes hold out. I cannot promise to do so, war's details 
never being to my liking, in the Bible or out of it. . . . 
In much love, farewell. L. Mott. 

The following letter, addressed to a niece, Anna 
Coffin Brown, residing in New York, alludes to the 
death of her youngest child, and to the loss sustained 
by the writer's daughter, Elizabeth, in the sudden 
death of her eldest son, under peculiarly affecting 

Eoadside, 4th mo. 12th, 1864. 

My darling Anna, — Come here to rest from thy 
cares, and we will try to cheer thee up. We know the 
blank that each return to your home must impress thee 
with, so sadly. Time is the only restorer for such sorrow. 
Resignation under the painful circumstances thou hadst in 
a measure attained to, for thou said thou couldst not ask 
your precious treasure back in all his sufferings. 

Elizabeth is very, very sad. She gives herself up to 
great grief. She commented, when I was there, on thy 
comparison of your bereavements, and thought your grad- 
ual preparation could not equal the sudden shock of theirs. 
How natural! — "Is any sorrow like unto my sorrow?" 
It is not healthful or well, to dwell ever on the mournful, 
— we all have enough, — but we must let the sunshine of 



life in, as much as possible, and enjoy the remaining bless- 
ings, which are not a few. 

. . . We are having at our Race St. meeting-house an ex- 
citing time just now, having formed a Freedmens' Associa- 
tion, after the example of our Orthodox Friends. At a 
preliminary meeting, Abraham Barker gave an interesting 
account of what they are doing on a large scale. Dr. 
Joseph Parrish told particulars of a late visit he made to 
Fortress Monroe, Norfolk, etc., and spoke well of the good 
work Lucy and Sarah Chase are doing there. Our last 
meeting was wonderfully interesting. Samuel Shipley gave 
an exciting account of the sufferers in the Mississippi Val- 
ley, and at the same time, of the contentment of the poor 
slaves, in their escape from worse bondage. Bishop Simp- 
son, a Methodist, who had been to Vicksburg, then ad- 
dressed the meeting, and a missionary school-teacher from 
there. The house was full down stairs, and many in the 
gallery. Some Orthodox Friends were there. 

Dr. Parrish admired the catholicity of the meeting, and 
made a neat speech on the breaking through sectarian bar- 
riers. So did Abraham Barker, on the importance of 
working. Deborah Wharton addressed the meeting very 
feelingly. Altogether the audience seemed to think the 
windows of Heaven opened — such a shower of blessings ! 
This is the first time that some of them have come out of 
their sectarian inclosure. Our report showed zeal. . . 

Leaving all our items till thou comes, and hoping it will 
be for a long visit, I will say how lovingly I am thy 

Aunt L. 

The next letter to her sister Martha, in speaking 
of the large family assembled at Roadside to cele- 
brate the fifty-third wedding anniversary, on the 
tenth of Fourth mo., 1864, says : — 

Not the least of the pleasures of these anniversaries is 
the delightful time the little ones have, making as much 
noise as they please. . . . 


Dear Elizabeth could not join us ; she stayed at home, 
heart-rent, feeling that sorrow rather than joy would cover 
her. . . . 

Two days now have passed since they all left us, and 
more lonely days I cannot remember. It seemed almost 
as it was when Patty was married and left us. As I went 
from room to room, to see that Mary put everything in 
order, the deserted places brought tears. Such a sudden 
change from these last few weeks ! Not even a cheerful 
whistle ! 


. . . Thou asks how I like Buckle's " Discourse on Wo- 
man." I only hurried over it once, and thought it good as 
far as it went, as far as an Englishman could be expected 
to go ; though not by any means equal to Mrs. Taylor's 
" Enfranchisement of Woman," published after our first 
convention at Worcester. Buckle was so full of i?iduc- 
tive and Reductive in his Discourse, that I tired of it. 

His remarks on Mill's admirable work on " Liberty " 
interested me more. That work has been reprinted lately, 
probably from Buckle's directing attention to it. We have 
it, but I have not yet had time to read it thoroughly. As 
to Buckle's " Atheism," people will cry " mad dog," when 
doctrines or sentiments conflict with their own cherished 
ideas ; and I am glad to be able to say with the Apostle, 
" It is a small thing to be judged of man's judgment." 

11th mo. 14th, 1864. 

. . . Our West Chester meeting was well attended, and 
more interesting than we had feared it would be. Reuben 
Tomlinson was very good with his Port Royal experi- 
ence ; Mary Grew, excellent, as usual. . . . 

We agree with thee that Garrison takes the unfortunate 
difference with Phillips too much to heart. His criticism 
of Phillips' last speech is far too severe. The defense of 
Banks, in the " Liberator," we do not like at all. With 
thee we can but hope they will come together again. . . . 



When we were in Chester, I was asked if I was over eighty! 
Quite time I stopped going about ! . . . This morning I 
have to answer a letter from Chicago, asking for James' 
and my autographs, with an original anti- slavery senti- 
ment. What " skeletons in my house " such requests are ! 

In the following letter brief allusion is made to 
meetings attended by James Mott. For the first 
time in his life he felt a concern to visit the various 
Meetings connected with the Philadelphia Yearly 
Meeting, in order to speak to the young people on 
the subject of education, and to interest them in the 
success of Swarthmore College, of which he was a 
Manager. According to custom, a minute was given 
him by the Monthly Meeting to which he belonged. 
He was sometimes accompanied by his wife, but 
generally by some other Friend. He was received 
everywhere with kindness, and given hearty welcome 
at Friends' houses, whenever distance from home 
obliged him to remain over night. Times had 
changed since he and his wife had been driven to seek 
shelter at a country inn. Death had removed some 
who had been active in opposition to them, and a new 
generation had arisen who acted under the influence 
of enlarged views, more in accordance with the grow- 
ing liberality of the age. Then followed the war of 
the Rebellion. This brought peace within the bor- 
ders of the Quaker communion. Those who had 
violently opposed the abolition movement began to 
think they had always been in favor of emancipa- 
tion, and greeted its advocates as brothers beloved. 
Among the Friends there came a " new heaven and 
a new earth, wherein dwelt righteousness." James 
and Lucretia Mott, who had never changed their at- 



titude in relation to the great principles which had 
been at issue, were again received as honored and 
beloved members of the Society. 

The change was a pleasant one to them ; for even 
independent people find it pleasant to be approved, 
and Lucretia Mott had, by nature, a strong love of 
approbation. It was not strong enough to induce 
her to swerve from the ridiculed and despised path 
of duty, but it often made that path more difficult 
to follow. 

Roadside, 1st mo. 3rd, 1865. 

My dear Sister, — This birthday letter I intended 
should have been begun on the 1st, so as to wish thee 
" a happy New Year ; " but our company then and yes- 
terday put writing out of the question ; and now a ta- 
ble - full of our children and grandchildren, talking so 
lively together, rather distracts my attention here in the 
library, added to somewhat of dyspeptic pain which has 
troubled me to-day, more even than usual. Miller says 
this attack, which at times has been very severe, is occa- 
sioned by mental and moral over-work, which has led me 
to go back a month or so, and trace the number of meet- 
ings, funerals, golden weddings, companies, etc., etc. ; and 
every day, nearly, was thus filled, until now my condition 
is such that my nerves have become very weak, and I must 
take some rest. 

Thy characteristic dislike of meeting-going makes thee 
think that thy dear brother James is wearing himself out 
in this way ; but thou art much mistaken. He takes a 
few meetings at a time, and comes home " bright as a 
button ; " having given those accompanying him, to say 
nothing of his own wife, good opportunity to "let their 
word have free course and be glorified." " Plain Friends " 
are not apt to " have a surfeit of meetings ; " it is so in- 
terwoven into their education. I confess to growing slack, 



as old age advances, and not seldom staying at home — 
worshiping always. I fear thou, my sister, cannot say so, 
if thou art ever wishing some order of nature reversed, 
and that " we had nests and feathers and wings." Did not 
thy actions speak louder than words, we might conclude 
thou wast really weary of the world as it is. Let us rather 
ask man to change than nature ; so that there shall not 
be these cruel distinctions : great wealth and abject pov- 
erty. I have some hope that the cooperative trades-unions 
are going to effect something toward a better state of so- 
ciety. I should like to be one of the listeners at your 
reading of " Seged, Lord of Ethiopia ; " having almost 
forgotten it. Few " School Readers " equal Murray's se- 
lections ; they were unexceptionable, though Parnell's her- 
mit, I remember, was horrid. . . . 

Yes, Frothingham is a beautiful writer ; but the best fail 
when they attempt to reason about God's ways and designs. 
We do know that violated law brings its penalty. As to 
fatalism, or pre-destination, or any other of those pres, 
which men strive in vain to reconcile one with the other, I 
can only say, " Canst thou, by searching, find out God ? " 
We do know that " He causes all his goodness to pass be- 
fore us." . . . 

I like much an essay I have lately read, drawing a good 
distinction between theology and religion. It was very 
good, and so well written. I care not how radical the free- 
inquirer may become, if a regard for true religion is pre- 
served. Garrison always kept that in view in his speeches 
and his Bible selections. Theologies and forms are dying 
out ; even though too slowly. 

Roadside, 4th mo. 17th, 1865. 
My dear Sister, — A beautiful day ! When a great 
calamity has befallen the nation, we want the sun to be 
darkened, and the moon not give her light; but "how 
everything goes on," as Maria said after her dear little 
Charley died, "just as though such an awful event had not 



occurred." Was there ever such universal sorrow ? The 
" mirth " of the clay before so suddenly " turned into heav- 
iness." Men crying in the streets ! As we opened our 
paper, the overwhelming news stunned us, and we could 
hardly attend to our household duties. We broke it grad- 
ually to our dear invalid, and when the fatal result was 
known here by hearing the bells toll, she burst into 

Such a display of mourning, as now in the city, was 
never before. All business is suspended. The children 
have festooned drapery along the length of our piazza. I 
objected at first, but finding that Edwd. D. had brought out 
a quantity of black muslin, and wished much to do it, I 
did n't care ; and James made no objection, when he saw it. 

Miller is much interested in the new Union Association, 
and the paper to be called the " Nation." They are now 
collecting money on a large scale from some persons who 
never before were called on, and who have contributed 
freely. Miller would like for all the anti- slavery and 
freedmen's societies to be merged in this — a Recon- 
structive Union. He sent an appeal to our " Friends' As- 
sociation." I told him it was objected, that woman was 
ignored in their new organization, and if it really were a 
reconstruction for the nation, she ought not so to be, and 
that it would be rather humiliating for our anti-slavery 
women and Quaker women to consent to be thus over- 
looked, after suffering the Anti -Slavery Society to be 
divided in 1840 rather than yield, and after claiming our 
right so earnestly in London to a seat in the " World's 
Convention." He was rather taken aback, and said, " if 
there seemed a necessity for women," he thought " they 
would be admitted ; " to which the impetuous reply was, 
" seemed a necessity I ! for one half the nation to act with 
you ! " 

I am glad to hear thou read the proceedings of the non- 
resistant meeting with interest. The words of truth and 



soberness were spoken forth, and the meeting was alto- 
gether one of deep interest to me. On one account, more 
so than our first An ti- Slavery Convention ; that women were 
there by right, and not by sufferance, and stood on equal 
ground. With this I forward some of the tracts to hand to 
those to whom " it is lawful to speak wisdom." 

With affectionate remembrances to one and all of your 

I am thine, most tenderly, L. Mott. 

It seems hardly necessary to say that the assassi- 
nation of Abraham Lincoln is the calamit}^ alluded 
to in the foregoing letter. The " invalid " men- 
tioned was their beloved daughter Elizabeth, who 
had come home to her parents' house to die. She 
lingered until early autumn. This most mournful 
event filled the hearts of all, to the exclusion of other 
matters. Very heavily the blow fell on the father 
and mother, in their advanced years. While with 
both it seemed sensibly to increase their tenderness 
towards their remaining children, it produced in Lu- 
cretia Mott a listless despondency, which was alto- 
gether new in her. This, with a severe attack of 
dyspepsia, prostrated her until late in the fall, when 
she began to be more like herself. She felt little in- 
terest in the affairs that generally engaged her, and 
could hardly rally sufficiently to write her regular 
family letters. But even in this condition her nat- 
ural vivacity asserted itself in fitful gleams of humor. 
In one letter, when speaking of a proposition to 
make a change of residence, she said : " We 'd better 
not be in a hurry to sell Roadside ; the carpets will 
last three or four years yet, — as long as I shall ! " 

The next letter from which an extract can be 
made is : — 




6th mo. 10th, 1866. 

S. B. A was with us yesterday, on her return from 

Longwood ; and too, with their wives. We had 

a great deal of talk ; and there was a good deal of fault- 
finding. does not satisfy on the woman question, 

nor she him on anti-slavery and the freedmen, and so we 
have it. I weary of everlasting complaints, and am glad 
sometimes that I shall not have much more to do in any of 
these movements. One thing is certain ; that I do not 
mean to be drawn into any party feeling. I honor S. B. 

A 's and E. C. S 's devotion to their great work, 

and try to cooperate as circumstances admit. 

During the summer of 1866, James and Lucretia 
Mott went to Auburn, N. Y. to visit their sister 
Martha Wright. This journey was undertaken in 
the hope that the change might benefit Lucretia 
Mott ; and in some ways it succeeded ; but she still 
was far from well. This was not perceptible to per- 
sons who only saw her occasionally under the excite- 
ment of a social call, for she would rally then to 
almost her old vivacity ; a little opposition in con- 
versation would make her seem as well as ever ; but 
in the absence of such incentive to effort, she was 
dispirited, and often tortured by extreme dyspeptic 
pain. This condition continued, with slight varia- 
tions for better or worse, for almost a year. In look- 
ing back, one sees plainly that it began when her \ 
daughter Elizabeth died, and that it was a step 
downward, from which she never quite recovered. 
Public work began to be a dread to her, as never be- 
fore. This is shown pathetically in her next letter, 
written from her niece's house, in New York, during 
a visit there, and in the general tone of those that 



New York, 11th mo. 12th, 1866. 
. . . Patty went with me yesterday to Elizabeth Stan- 
ton's to lunch, Lucy Stone and S. B. Anthony meeting us 
there ; the time all taken up in discussing the coming con- 
vention, and reading an address in an English paper by 
Madame Baudichon, very good indeed. Elizabeth was like 
herself, full of spirits, and so pleasant. . . . This Equal 
Rights movement is no play — but I cannot enter into it ! 
Just hearing their talk and the reading made me ache all 
over, and glad to come away and lie on the sofa here to 
rest, till and came. I had n't much rest ! To- 
morrow we lunch at Sarah Hicks', and then come hack to 
company to tea ; something all the time. On First-day I 
dined at Hannah Haydock's after Fifteenth st. meeting; 
found S. B. Anthony waiting for me to go somewhere in a 
carriage with her to meet Horace Greeley and an Hon. Mr. 
Griffing. I just couldn't do it. Moreover, Susan and some 
others were to meet in Joralemon st. to discuss enlarging 
the " Friend " to admit Equal Rights, and they wanted me 
to go hear Beecher and have him talk with us afterwards, 
preparatory to his speech in Albany, — but I could n't 
do that any more than the other ! There is no rest ! . . . 
I was wondering, the other day, what use the increasing 
number of churches would be put to, as civilization out- 
grew them. . . . 

llth mo. 15th, 1866. 
. . . Susan B. Anthony begs me to write, if only a line 
or two. 1 But what can / say ! . . . Her whole mind is in 
her work, and I do like her sincerity and plain-speaking, 
very much. . . . The " Standard" drags — so does the con- 
tinuance of our Anti-Slavery Society. James thinks the 
" Penna." should better wind up this year, but others will 
oppose it. We have done right to hold on these two years, 
but the time may be come, now that the Republicans are 
taking up suffrage. It is so difficult to collect money for 
1 For the first " Equal Rights " Convention at Albany. 


necessary expenses, an office, and salary of an agent, that 
it will be a relief when the right time comes to close up. 
We have just given $100 to our Friends' Freedmen's As- 
sociation. There is no end to calls for money. . . . With 
trade so uncertain, health, and indeed life equally so, I 

hope that and will be content with their present 

lot, which indeed is quite to the extent of this year's means, 
for the price of everything is frightful. When I see such 

a house as 's, complete as if by magic, and think of 

all the outlay, and the labor of keeping all in order, I feel 
" blessed be contentment with greater simplicity and econ- 


... On Sixth-day last, that windy, cold day, I brought 
down some of my winter clothes to mend, saying to Maria, 
that it was Heaven to be by ourselves to do as we pleased. 
We had not been seated long before she said, " Look, 
mother, here comes company, with a carpet bag." I had 
only time to escape, with my arms full of quilted petticoat, 

etc., when and — were ushered in. We were in 

for it till the following Second-day, and it was a very pleas- 
ant visit, if we had n't so muck pleasure ! 

Another time she wrote : — 

... As to Eliza's visit, we hardly saw her. And the only 
time when Thomas could come out with her to tea and stay 
the night, and we were anticipating such a pleasant supper 
and evening, what should appear but a country carriage 
and horses, bearing two dear Friends, who would have been 
welcome visitors, at almost any other time. Alas ! Eliza 
and Thomas went back that night, and it was the dear 
Friends that stayed till morning ! I had come out the 
day before, sick with a bad cold, and used up, being at so 
many meetings since Second-day ; three evenings on cap- 
ital punishment — two afternoons at peace meeting, besides 
our own Fourth-day meeting, and divers errands. There 
seems never to be an end ! I 'm getting too old ; the grass- 
hopper is a burden. 




And again : — 

I stayed in town at Anna's all Third -day night, to 
attend the lecture of Frances W. Harper ; it was a fine 
one, and there was a large audience ; but how I should 
have wanted to go home afterwards, had I known that 
George and Patty were there, having come on from New 
York, unexpectedly, for a few days' stay. Next morning, 
as James and I drove into our gate, Maria opened the. li- 
brary door, saying, " Come in this way, mother," and there 
sat dear Patty ! It is one of the pleasantest events of life, 
such a surprise ; and oh ! the exquisite enjoyment of hav- 
ing your own to visit you! 

The following letter from Wm. Lloyd Garrison, — 
which might risk being called fulsome, were it not 
heartily meant, and equally well-deserved, — helped 
to consecrate the last wedding anniversary which 
James and Lucre tia Mott were to celebrate together. 
Before the next came around, the inevitable separa- 
tion had befallen them in the death of James Mott, 
and the day, — always so happy before, — became 
one of mourning and tears. 

Roxbury, April 8th, 1867. 

Lucretia Mott : 

Mr dear and revered Friend, — In common with 
a great many others who are strongly attached to you, and 
whose estimate of the beauty and perfectness of your char- 
acter no language can express, I have been greatly con- 
cerned to hear of your serious indisposition for some time 
past, and painfully apprehensive that it might have a fatal 
result ; but a letter received to-day brings us the cheering 
intelligence that you are decidedly better, with a fair pros- 
pect of soon being restored to your usual state of health. 
Though you are about eleven years older than I am, if my 
reckoning be not at fault, I feel a strong desire that you 



should remain in the body until the time for my departure 
has also come, that I may go hand in hand with you to 
the Spirit world. Indeed, so great a company of beloved 
ones have already gone before — so many are vanishing on 
the right hand, and on the left — that I feel more and more 
prepared for that great change which in due time comes to 
all, and ready for the translation. Yet I desire the pro- 
longation of your valuable life, if it be the will of Heaven, 
because it affords such an example of active sympathy with 
suffering humanity in all its multiform phases, such an ex- 
hibition of goodness of heart, benevolence of spirit, moral 
heroism in the investigation and assertion of truth, com- 
plete womanhood in the relation of wife and mother, marked 
ability and usefulness as a public religious preacher, rever- 
ence for the will of the Heavenly Father as revealed to 
your own understanding, and total consecration of all your 
faculties and powers to the service of righteousness in the 
widest and most practical application. 

Perhaps it will never be given to you to know how many 
you have blessed and aided by your counsel and sympathy, 
your liberality and cooperation, your testimony and ex- 
ample ; but the number is very great and constantly aug- 

To come into your presence is always to be the better 
for it ; your company is ever edifying and pleasurable ; and, 
associated with your dearly beloved husband, who is indeed 
worthy of you, your home — to borrow the language of 
Dr. Watts — seems " like a little heaven below." Accept 
this as from the core of my heart, with no wish or inten- 
tion to burn incense, or indulge in mere compliment. 

"William reminds me that you and James will celebrate 
the fifty-fourth anniversary of your marriage on Wednes- 
day next. I should like to be one of the circle at Eoad- 
side on that day, but circumstances forbid. I hope, how- 
ever, that this letter will arrive seasonably, bearing my 
congratulations to you both, and my fervent wishes that 



you may be permitted to renew this celebration for a series 
of years to come, with no drawback of sickness or calam- 
ity. You will have your children, and your children's chil- 
dren, and affectionate relatives and friends to felicitate you 
on this rare attainment beyond the "golden " era, and to 
give you their united benediction. 

On the 8th of May, in company with my dear friend and 
co-laborer, George Thompson, I expect to sail from Boston 
for Liverpool, to make a final visit to English friends, to 
attend the approaching World's Anti-Slavery Conference 
in Paris, and to embrace my darling Fanny and Frank on 
my arrival there. I trust the voyage may prove beneficial 
to my health, for I have been a good deal broken since my 
unfortunate headlong fall last year, and now write this with 
a feverish brain and hand. 

Heaven bless you for what you have lately done to help 
George Thompson pecuniarily. The health of my dear 
wife is now remarkably improved, and she is looking young, 
and fresh, and fair. She indorses all I have said about you, 
and unites with me in affectionate regards to all the house- 
hold at Roadside. 

Your loving friend, ¥m. Lloyd Garrison. 

1/7 V 


Ok the 30th of May, 1867, a meeting was held in 
Boston to " consider the conditions, wants, and pros- 
pects of free religion in America." Among others, 
Lucretia Mott was invited to be present. Although 
in a feeble state of health, her interest in the object 
of the call was so profound that, accompanied by a 
daughter, she made the journey to Boston, and not 
only attended the meeting, but spoke on the memo- 
rable occasion with vigor and animation. Having 
been introduced by the president, she said : — 

Our president announced me as a representative of the 
Quaker sect, or Society of Friends. I must do our 
Friends at home the justice to say that I am not here as a 
representative of any sect. I am not delegated by any 
portion or by any conference or consultation of Friends 
in any way. ... I represent myself, not the Friends, al- 
though I am much attached to the organization to which I 

She then made a rapid review of the growth of 
religious freedom, and gave the following emphatic 
indorsement of the new movement : — 

I believe, as fully as that the command was given to 
Abraham, that the command is now to many, " Get thee 
out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy 
father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." As 
George Fox was drawn away from all organizations of his 
time, and had to retire alone, and there be instructed by a 



higher power than himself, by the divine word within, and 
had to claim that as the highest authority for action, — with 
no Bibles, no human authorities, no ministers, no pulpits, 
no anything that should take the place of this divine, in- 
ward, every-day teacher, so simple in its instruction, — as he 
was thus called out from all his kindred and from his fa- 
ther's house, and brought into the land that was thereafter 
shown unto him, so, I say, there is an increased number of 
this description. 

Much as she sympathized with the objects of the 
Free Religious Association, and she said frequently 
that no reform, since the close of the anti-slavery 
struggle, had interested her so warmly, unless, per- 
haps, the cause of peace, — she was for some time 
unwilling to allow her name to appear among its 
officers, on account of an obnoxious phrase in its 
constitution which seemed to her to lay stress on 
the technical study of theology. She, however, at- 
tended the annual meetings whenever her strength 
would permit a journey of such length, and gener- 
ally took part in the proceedings. In the course of 
a few years, the matter still weighing on her mind, 
she addressed the following letter to the Rev. O. B. 
Frothingham, President of the Association, suggest- 
ing an amendment to the constitution : — 

Roadside, 5th mo. 22nd. 

" The objects of the Free Religious Association are to 
promote the scientific study of theology, and to increase fel- 
lowship in the spirit," &c. 

Doubting the propriety of calling theology a science, I 
would suggest an amendment in this wise: to encourage 
the scientific study of the religious nature or element in 
man — the ever-present Divine inspiration. 

W. J. Potter and others have written on this subject, 



once alluding to my objection; but they have not met the 
distinction I would make. Sam 1 Longfellow thought my 
dislike of the term was because of the abounding erro- 
neous, or false theology. No ; it is more than this : it is 
the study to "find out," or define God. Abbot says, 
"Index," 267, "If we make an image of Him, even in our 
own thoughts, to bow down before and worship, it will be 
hard to realize His presence in our own souls, out of which 
grow our holiest feelings, our noblest living." 

John Weiss, in his speech at our first Free Religious 
meeting, directed us to the ever present inspiration in our 
own minds or souls, apart from all miracle or super-natu- 
ralism. I would add, apart from all verbal creeds and 
theologies, and from all sectarian or conventional observ- 
ances as well. 

" These little systems hare their day, 
They have their day and cease to be ; 
They are but broken lights of Thee, 
And Thou, Lord, art more than they." 

Combe, in his Essay on Natural Religion, says, " It is 
greatly to be regretted that theology has ever been con- 
nected with religion ; and religion so much injured by the 

Is not the basis of all science, fact, demonstration, or 
self-evident truth ? Can we create a science on our spec- 
ulations ? Some writer has said : " The heathen make 
graven images, we make verbal ones, and they do not wor- 
ship more ardently the work of their hands than we do 
the work of our pens. Language is inapplicable to such 
speculations, and can no more explain what eye hath not 
seen or ear heard, than we can by taking thought add one 
cubit to our stature." 

Will not the above apply to much that has been written 
on the importance of faith in a personal God ? 

Let us rather use our time and efforts for the promotion 
of a higher righteousness than is yet demanded by our 
Scribes and Pharisees. Lucretia Mott. 



The suggestion was laid before the next annual 
meeting, and the amendment adopted. It now stands 
as the statement of the third object of the Associa- 
tion. Originally the sentence read, " To encourage 
the scientific study of theology." 

Extracts from her addresses at the various annual 
meetings of the Free Religious Association which she 
attended are given in the Appendix in their chrono- 
logical order. 


The summer and autumn of 1867 were seasons of 
quiet happiness to James and Lucretia Mott. Both 
were in good health, — if the fragile condition of the 
latter could ever be so called, — and in better spirits 
than for several years past. All of their remaining 
children, but one, were living within easy distances of 
them, and with that one they exchanged frequent 
visits. Grandchildren were growing up around them, 
and friends were everywhere. The old issues that 
had caused so much bitter feeling had passed away, 
and the time of reward had come. It was sunset, 
but a radiant, peaceful sunset, after the storms of 
mid-day had disappeared. 

During the summer they made several journeys to- 
gether ; once as far as Nantucket, to see their old 
friends Nathaniel and Eliza Barney ; and James 
Mott concluded his round of visits to the Meetings 
about Philadelphia. At one of these, held in Abing- 
ton, a person present, struck with his earnestness, 
made a report of his remarks, from which the follow- 
ing appeal to parents is extracted. This was the 
burden of his concern wherever he spoke. Al- 
though not the words of an orator, they are the 
words of a good man, whose ripe experience entitled 
him to testify whereof he had seen. They are par- 
ticularly valuable to his descendants as his last pub- 
lic utterance. 

From a Photograph by F. Gutckunst in 1863. 



Every one will admit that peace is better than war — 
that harmony and good feeling in a neighborhood are much 
better than strife and contention. We all feel that the 
same is true of nations. We have had wars for ages past, 
and the people continue to be in a state almost ready at 
any time for warfare. How are we going to bring about a 
feeling of peace, kindness, and love in the community gen- 
erally, so that we shall be able to uproot all war and bit- 
terness ? I do not know of any better way than to begin 
at home with our children. Parents must learn to educate 
and govern themselves — their own feelings. And in the 
management and government of their little children at 
home, let kindness, love, and gentleness be manifested on 
all occasions. There has been a great advance in these re- 
spects within my memory. We know that the time was 
when the rod was considered necessary in all schools, and 
in almost all families. Now, our best schools have abol- 
ished it ; and there are comparatively few intelligent per- 
sons who think it necessary under any circumstances. We 
have found that love, gentleness, and kindness are much 
more efficient in overcoming unruly conditions, than the ap- 
plication of those relics of barbarism, the rod and the 
strap, which always tend to excite opposition and hatred. 
Let us, my friends, endeavor to instill into the minds of our 
children the principles of peace. " Train up a child in the 
way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart 
therefrom." I do not know of any better or more certain 
way to bring peace on earth, than for each to see that we 
have it within ourselves, and then cultivate it in the minds 
of little children. Young men, young women, let me im- 
press upon your minds the importance of the work before 

He often impressed upon his children and grand- 
children the duty of teaching by gentleness. He 
would say, " Never threaten, and never promise re- 
ward, and be very careful to consider before you say 



'no;' say 4 yes ' as often as you can." And when 
he heard of punishments inflicted on the younger 
generation of the family, he would counsel patience, 
and say in his own loving way, " I would n't punish 
them for trifles ; they grow older every day, and will 
soon know for themselves." 

The children, in turn, loved him dearly ; and 
while they often made great inroads upon his indul- 
gence, rarely failed in respectful obedience to his 

In the autumn he and his wife spent a week near 
Boston, — the last time together ! During this visit, 
Lucretia Mott preached one First-day morning in 
the hall of the Parker Fraternity in the city. At 
the close, among the many persons who crowded 
up to speak to her were a young gentleman and 
lady from England, who had brought letters of in- 
troduction. She entered into such animated con- 
versation with them, that the time came to go to 
the railway station before they were ready to part. 
With the impulse that was natural to her, she quickly 
invited them to go home with her to dine, and they 
as readily accepted the invitation. She also asked 
Mr. Garrison and his son William, and her sister, 
Martha C. Wright, to accompany them. 1 She was 
staying at the house of a granddaughter, in a sub- 
urb of Boston, a small house of very modest pre- 
tensions, overflowing with a family of little children. 
By the time they arrived at the station where they 
were to alight she began to realize what an over- 
whelming apparition a company of seven guests 
would be to the hostess, who expected only two, and 

1 Martha C. Wright was at this time visiting her daughter, the wife of 
William L. Garrison, Jr. 



those two part of her own family. She therefore 
hastened to the house a little before the others, and 
said with pretended dismay, and not a little amuse- 
ment at the complication, " What will thou say to 
me ! I 've asked Lord and Lady Amberley, and 
William Lloyd Garrison, out here to dine, and Aunt 
Martha and William with them, and they are all 
just coining up the hill ! " 

For a few minutes the startled hostess felt as if 
she might say anything ; for, expecting only her 
grandparents, she had allowed the nurserymaid to 
go away for the day ; and a dinner prepared for six 
seemed ill-suited to the appetites of eleven. But 
the visitors were at the door, and nothing was to be 
done but to welcome them. She will never forget 
the sweetness with which Lady Amberley apologized 
for coming so informally, nor her graceful tact in 
saying, when the children made their demands for 
care and attention, " I am my children's nurse, too." 
It proved to be a delightful occasion. Some neigh- 
bors came in, among them David A. Wasson, and a 
memorable discussion of woman's actual and ideal 
position in America occupied the hour that we sat 
around the blazing woodfire in the autumn twilight. 

A month later, the same guests were entertained 
at Roadside. A warm friendship sprang up between 
the gifted young English lady and the aged Amer- 
ican preacher. The following letter, written after 
the death of James Mott, fitly closes this mention 
of their short acquaintance. The baby Lucretia, 
alluded to in the letter, died of diphtheria a few 
years afterwards, and was followed before many days 
by her poor young mother, a victim to the same ma- 
lignant disease : — 


London, June 30th, 1868. 
Dear Mrs. Mott, — I have never ventured to intrude 
on you since my return to England, as I heard of your sad 
and great trouble ; but I hope you will not mind this little 
note, just to ask after you, and to tell you of a friend of 
mine, who is just going to America. It is Mr. Thackeray's 
daughter, who is going next month with her husband, Mr. 
Leslie Stephen. She is a very clever and interesting wo- 
man, and if she could, would much like to see you. My 
little daughter, who was born on the second of March, was 
called Rachel Lucretia, after you and her ancestress. 1 
Your picture hangs up in my room, and she shall be taught 
to venerate and love her unknown and far-off namesake, 
whom I hope some day she may resemble to some extent, 
in all those noble, true, and feminine qualities which will 
always make yours a known and honored name to all lovers 
•+ of truth, justice, and humanity. My little girl is very dark, 
and has the sweetest, gentlest smile and ways, and such a 
placid temper; the little twin sister never lived, alas! I 
should like to have kept my two little American treasures. 
Looking back on our journey, one of my greatest pleas- 
ures has been my meeting with you and Mr. Mott, and 
the sermon I had the delight of hearing from you ; and 
the two afternoons I spent with you at Boston and at 
Phila. Many thanks to you for your kindness to us. 
Yours most affectionately, Kate Amberley. 

In recalling the events of the autumn of 1867, it 
seems almost as if one could recognize some premo- 
nition of the sad change which was soon to follow, 
in the reluctance with which James and Lucretia 
Mott parted from their son and his family, who, late 
in the year, sailed for an extended absence in Eu- 
rope. Their lively house at the Farm was sold, 
and winter settled down upon a quiet household at 

1 Lady Russell, the mother of Lord Amberley. 



Roadside, in sombre contrast with the preceding 

About the middle of First-month, 1868, our grand- 
parents left home to visit their daughter in Brooklyn, 
New York ; and also to attend the wedding of two 
young people, children of old friends, who particu- 
larly desired their presence on the occasion. On the 
way our grandfather contracted a cold which he said 
was too trifling to be considered ; but it soon devel- 
oped into pneumonia ; and early on the morning of 
the 26th, — the day before the wedding, — his life 
quietly ended. As he breathed his last, in a peace- 
ful sleep which no one recognized for a while as 
death, his wife, worn with the night's watching, 
rested her head on his pillow and slept too. In the 
silent dawn of that winter morning, their daughter 
looked with awe upon those two still faces ; one 
calm in eternal rest ; the other, in serene uncon- 
sciousness of the sorrow which would greet her 

During the first few days of his illness, our grand- 
father several times expressed a wish to be at home ; 
and once, with perhaps a perception of the approach- 
ing change, unexpected then by his family, he said, 
" But I suppose I shall die here, and then I shall be 
at home ; — it is just as well." Throughout his ill- 
ness he was the object of tender and unremitting at- 
tention from his younger brother, Richard Mott, of 
Toledo, Ohio, who chanced then to be visiting rel- 
atives in Brooklyn. The two brothers, strikingly 
alike in character as well as appearance, were united 
by a strong bond of affection which bridged over 
the sixteen years' difference between their ages ; and 


at this solemn time, it was a comfort to both that 
they could be together. 1 

The body of our grandfather was taken to Phila- 
delphia to the house of his children, Edward and 
Anna Hopper, where the funeral was held, and was 
then laid in the family lot in the Friends burying- 
ground, at Fair Hill. A large concourse of people 
assembled at the house, and several, out of the full- 
ness of their hearts, spoke a few words, but, as is 
usual among Friends, there were no set funeral 
services. Dr. Furness, the long-tried friend of the 
family, repeated Mrs. Barbauld's beautiful hymn, — 

" How blest the righteous when he dies ! " 
and made some brief remarks, in his own touching 
and impressive manner. Robert Purvis, another val- 
ued friend, then offered his fervent tribute of sym- 
pathy, and was followed by Mary Grew, in eloquent 
appreciation of the " incalculable value of the influ- 
ence of such a life, extending from generation to 

Then some colored men, who had requested the 
privilege, as a final mark of respect and reverence 

1 An incident of their early life may be mentioned here. A gold-headed 
cane came into Richard's possession while he was still too young to carry 
it. He therefore passed it over to James, who, in accepting it, said jest- 
ingly, Tt 1 '11 give it back to thee when thee 's a member of Congress." This 
improbable event came to pass some forty years afterwards, in the stirring 
times before the pro-slavery rebellion, when the struggle for freedom — 
fought at once on the plains of Kansas and in the congressional halls of 
Washington — resulted in the exclusion of slavery from the new territo- 
ries of California, New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska. During this excit- 
ing contest, Richard Mott, then a representative from the Toledo district 
of Ohio, was obliged by ill health to seek a brief rest, and went to his fa- 
vorite retreat, " the old place," at Cowneck, L. I. He had hardly arrived, 
when at midnight the following telegram from his friend Joshua R. Gid- 
dings, in Washington, recalled him: — " Freedom for Kansas depends on 
your vote. Giddings." He immediately returned to his post. 



for one whom they regarded as the devoted friend of 
their race, performed the last services, and bore him 
away to his long resting-place. 

From the large number of letters which were re- 
ceived after his death, the following are selected for 
insertion here : — 

Let it comfort you, dear friend, that this world of ours 
is, to-day, better for your life in it ; better, because you two 
have lived together in it. Very rarely is the world blessed 
with such a light as shone — and shone so far — from that 
wedded life. That light has not gone out. It never will 
go out. And every year that you will stay with us will 
help to keep it bright. If I were to try, I could never tell 
you, dear friend and teacher, how much you have done for 
me. The breaking of some spiritual fetters, the parting 
of some clouds which opened deeper vistas into heaven, I 
owe to you. 

Some day, perhaps, in this world or another, sitting at 
your feet, I can tell you more of this. Now, sorrowing in 
your sorrow, I can do little more than pray that you may 
be blessed and comforted, even as you have blessed and 
comforted others. Mart Grew. 

Watertown, Feb., 1868. 
My dear Mrs. Mott, — I have just received through 
our dear friend, Dr. Furness, the message which you felt 
prompted to send to the young Radicals of this vicinity, who 
have so lately been honored and greatly cheered by your 
visit and words. I shall read Dr. Furness' letter at the 
next meeting of the Club. In the mean time, I must for 
myself acknowledge the friendly faithfulness which spoke 
through those moments of tenderness and sorrow, and 
which gained thereby so much weight and meaning. I 
shall lay it to heart. It connects the greatest of truths, 
with the reverence which I have for you. And that rever- 
ence is paid to your most womanly faith, sweetness, firm- 



ness and devotion, by which the truths of humanity have 
gained fresh illustration from you. 

How precious must be the review of this to you, in con- 
nection with that life-long partnership in honor and char- 
ity, which death is now for a while interrupting. If any- 
thing can bid the last years of life blossom into celestial 
peace and confidence, it must be such years of maturity, 
spent by you and your husband in great closeness to the 
Divine Light, and in obedience to the voice that pro- 
nounces the names of the oppressed, and of all the little 
ones who must not be lost. 

Great encouragement flows into me from such examples ; 
and I delight to express to you my homage, as I subscribe 

Most sincerely yours, John Weiss. 


. . . What he was as a husband, no one can tell so well 
as yourself ; what he was as a father, only his children can 
realize and depict ; what he was as a friend, a vast multi- 
tude can testify with moistened eyes and glowing hearts ; 
what he was as a public benefactor, an untiring philanthro- 
pist, and a true and courageous reformer, the record of his 
long and most beneficent life will show in luminous charac- 
ters. My respect, esteem, affection, and veneration for him 
were as strong and as exalted as it is lawful to cherish for 
any human being. He seemed to me to lack nothing as a 
good and noble man. He was gentle, and yet had great 
strength of purpose and will ; no fear of man ever caused 
him to swerve one hair's breadth from his convictions of 
duty ; he had a great and pure conscience, and a loving and 
world-embracing spirit. What a joy and inspiration it is to 
contemplate such a life ! What an example he was in all 
manner of goodness ! How early he espoused the cause 
of the millions cruelly imprisoned in the loathsome house 
of bondage ! I see his name at this moment among the 
agents of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, as long 



ap;o as Dec. 23 rd , 1826. The slave never had a better 
friend, nor the free man of color one more ready to lend a 
helping hand in the time of distress. . . . 

At the time of his death James Mott was Presi- 
dent of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, and 
Chairman of its Executive Committee; President of 
the Pennsylvania Peace Society; and a prominent 
member of the Board of Managers of Swarthmore 
College. 1 

Some mention of his position in the Society of 
Friends has already been made, but additional light 
is thrown upon it by the following brief account, 
written after his death, by one who, from behind 
the curtain, was acquainted with certain facts which 
James Mott would have been reluctant to detail con- 
cerning himself. 

In this connection it is proper, and perhaps neces- 
sary, to explain that the person who appears con- 
spicuously in the statement was a well-known Friend, 
who had become a member of the Monthly Meeting 
to which James and Lucretia Mott belonged, soon 
after the Separation. In a short time he was made 
an Elder. He earnestly and honestly believed in 
eldership, and in the exercise of all the authority in- 
cident to the office. The arbitrary measures pursued 
by him and his followers were opposed by those who 
believed that a spirit of toleration and charity should 
characterize the administration of the Discipline ; 
and many discussions consequently took place in the 
Select Meeting for Ministers and Elders, in which 
he violently and persistently opposed Lucretia Mott. 
The want of harmony was such as to cause anxious 

1 A well-known educational institution, near Philadelphia, organized 
and controlled by Friends. 



concern throughout the Society, and many feared a 
return of that state of ecclesiastical oppression from 
which the Separation had for a time delivered them. 

I do not know when James Mott was first made an 
Elder. It was long, long since. He did not, I think, re- 
sign the office. The Discipline provides for a change or 
reappointment once in three years, when a committee is 
appointed for the purpose. If there is no disturbing ele- 
ment, those who have heretofore been in the service are 
renominated ; and such is generally the case. During the 
term of Clement Biddle and James Mott, there was dis- 
agreement, and the committee felt that in view of the dis- 
cordant feeling existing between these two Friends, both 
their names could not properly be reported to the Monthly 
Meeting. A majority of the committee, perhaps, was favor- 
able to the reappointment of James Mott ; and their report, 
if made, would probably have been sustained by the meet- 
ing. It is certain that he was strongly urged to allow his 
name to be presented, and had he shown the least desire for 
the place, it would in all probability have been given to him ; 
but his disapprobation of the course pursued, and the dis- 
affection of his wife to the " select " institution, as it was 
then conducted, made the station distasteful to him. He 
stated to the committee that as the reappointment of both 
would not be productive of peace and quiet, it would be 
better for them not to serve together, and that for him to 
displace the other, would seriously affect the health, if not 
the life of the latter. He therefore took his seat on the 
floor again, and Clement Biddle kept his in the gallery. 

Time passed, circumstances changed, and peace was re- 
stored to Zion. James Mott was again made an Elder. 
He had no longing for the office, but accepted it in submis- 
sion to the partiality of his many friends, and held it in all 
modesty until his life was so abruptly ended. The position 
gave him social opportunities which were pleasant to his 
declining days. He seldom had anything to say in public 



meetings, but in meetings for discipline he spoke upon mat- 
ters wherein good sense and good judgment were needed, 
his remarks being very practical, and tending to impart 
strength and unity to the brethren. His judgment was 
much respected, and his cooperation in the service of the 
church highly and gratefully appreciated. This is the cor- 
dial, unqualified testimony. 

The usual tribute of respect — a memorial con- 
cerning his life and character — was read before the 
Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends to which 
lie belonged, and recorded in their minutes. 

I will not attempt to depict the blank left in the 
family circle. Though our grandfather had reached 
the ripe age of nearly eighty years, he was so young 
in feeling, so strong in health, that no one could as- 
sociate the thought of death with his fullness of life. 
Had the summons come to our grandmother, whose 
etherealized frame seemed ready to succumb to the 
slightest touch, the blow would have been much less 
unexpected. But the strong man was swept away ; 
and the fragile woman waited yet twelve years for 
the kind future which she hoped would reunite them. 

Soon after the sad event, Martha Wright, in a 
letter to a friend, said of her sister : — 

The striking traits of Lucretia's character are remark- 
able energy that defies even time, unswerving conscientious- 
ness, and all those characteristics that are summed up in 
the few words, love to man and love to God. . . . Though 
much broken by the heavy affliction that has come to her 
so unexpectedly, for, frail as she is, she never thought she 
should survive her strong and vigorous husband, she has 
borne the stroke better than we feared. 

She took up her daily life as nearly as possible in 
its accustomed rounds, and tried to fulfill the duties 



that remained with, cheerfulness and resignation, but 
the sense of desolation continued to the end. She 
never again slept in the chamber which she and her 
husband had occupied together, — a bright sunny 
room at the south end of the house, — but took for 
herself a tiny little place, called in the family, the 
" middle room," with a window to the east, com- 
manding the sunrise. With this room our last mem- 
ories of her are associated. It was also noticeable 
that from the time of her husband's death she rarely 
attended the First-day meetings, to which she had 
driven with him so often, and that she cared less for 
public gatherings of any kind, with the exception of 
the mid-week Friends' meeting, in Philadelphia, to 
which she went with great regularity until within 
six months of her death. Here she met the children 
who attended Friends' Central School ; it being a 
rule that the scholars, both boys and girls, should be 
present at this religious meeting. She liked to see 
them file in and take their places with such deco- 
rous order. She said that their fresh young faces 
helped her to forget her own increasing feebleness, 
and mitigated her loneliness. 

Another notable exception must be made in favor 
of the Pennsylvania Peace Society, whose executive 
committee meetings were an unfailing attraction to 
her. She rarely allowed anything to interfere with 
her attendance at these. The promotion of Univer- 
sal Peace was a cause with which she had been iden- 
tified from the beginning, and in which her latest 
interest was engaged. 

She also continued to attend the Yearly Meetings 
of Friends and some Womans' Rights conventions, 
and occasionally participated in the annual meetings 



of the Free Religious Association, in Boston, but with 
these exceptions, she went less and less into public 
assemblies. Her home life gradually assumed a new 
routine ; friends and children and grandchildren came 
and went, and the days passed on. How they passed 
may be gathered from a few extracts from some of 
her letters to her sister and daughter : — 

Roadside, 3rd mo. 26th, 1868. 
My darling Patty, — Are you thinking this day, that 
two months have passed since that memorable night and 
day ? Every day and night since has been counted by me, 
and the untiring subject of thought finds expression when- 
ever there are ears to hear and sympathetic hearts to beat 
in unison. We are continually remembering some incident 
to tell our dear son, Thomas ; and such a comfort it is to 
have him with us at this time ! Your visit was most grate- 
ful to my longing heart, although I was so engrossed with 
the natural dwelling on our great loss. . . . Mine are not 
tears of bitterness, but of tenderness. Excessive grief is 
lamentable, if not reprehensible. I do not mourn, but 
rather remember my blessings, and the blessing of his long 
life with me. How far preferable a sudden to a lingering 
death ! . . . 

Roadside, 6th mo. 26th, 1868. 
My beloved Children and Grandchildren, — I 
have given you a little rest from letters lately. Thine, 
dear Patty, instead of yourselves, arrived in good time, and 
was read with all the resignation we could summon. The 
days were passed, not without company, but much alone in 
my little sanctum, and in the parlor, while the rest were 
out on the piazza. The recurrence of the eightieth birth- 
day 1 with us, as with you, led to a review of the past and 
present, and a greater change than here the last year we 
thought could not be found anywhere. So much life and 

1 Had James Mutt lived, he would have been eighty, on the 20th of 6th 
mo. 1868. 


activity last summer and early fall, over at the Farm ; the 
basket wagon daily here for the young folks to drive to 
Germantown or elsewhere ; the " hifalutin," afternoons, for 
the older members to drive with Mariana ; company out 
every other evening. Your dear father going here and 
there to meetings, his return always so pleasant ; our 
united visit to you at Suffern, and at Nathaniel Barney's ; 
those delightful trips in the fall, meeting with so many 
intelligent people ; Wendell Phillips' meetings at West 
Chester, and Kennett, and in the city ; Lord and Lady 
Amberley's visit here, and Uncle Richard's. Then the 
change ! all the family gone from the Farm ; Aunt Mar- 
tha's comings, always so cheering, at an end, it seemed, 
with sickness at home. Our delightfully anticipated visit 
to you cut short so sadly ! Laura's illness and death im- 
mediately following ; you know the sad, sad list. . . . But 
with it all we try to number our remaining blessings, and 
are generally hopeful, cheerful, and thankful. 

Most tenderly, Mother. 

7th mo. 6th, 1868. 
. . . Maria and I are day after day alone. Edward 
comes out to a late dinner. Ellis and Margaret drove over 
the other evening by bright moonlight, and passed an hour 
or so on the piazza. But oh ! the great blank ! Your 
dear father was ever there these warm summer evenings, 
and we seem to miss him more there than in the house, if 
that is possible. Scarcely a day passes that I do not think, 
of course for the instant only, that I will consult him 
about this or that. ... It discourages me to find that my 
memory is failing. When I found this morning that I had 
written the same thing twice, I put aside my pen, went 
into the garden and gathered peas for dinner, came in and 
shelled them, and have since read the " Radical," and 
looked into " Friends' Intelligencer," and some other peri- 
odicals, and wished we only took half the number. . . . 


Roadside, 7th mo. 18th, 1869. 
. . . We were saying the other evening as we sat on the 
piazza in the moonlight, Edward, Maria, and I, how few 
friends we had left to come and sit with us, as Robert Coli- 
yer used to, and how we missed, in a thousand ways, the 
beloved occupant of the large chair out there. ... I have 
come up to my little middle room to rest, and perhaps lie 
down awhile, for I was up and out in the garden before six 
this morning, gathering peas ; and I 've finished a nice new 
dress ; on at this present. . . . Tom and Fanny are here 
for a few days, and their merry laugh takes us back to the 
happy days of Roadside, before the glory departed. Alas ! 

The following letter, although written several 
years after this period of loneliness and mourning, 
is introduced in this connection as giving some of 
the views of the writer regarding death and the un- 
known future. It is the only one of the kind that I 
ever knew her to write, and was in answer to a friend 
who, in the agony of heavy bereavement, had sought 
some consolation from her. These were questions 
upon which she thought it unprofitable to dwell. 
Believing sincerely that all such things are ordered 
for the best, she was content to leave the impenetra- 
ble mystery in the hands of Infinite Beneficence : — 

How gladly would I send thee a consolatory letter in 
answer to thine ; but alas ! While the faith of many sym- 
pathizers with the bereaved can present beautiful pictures 
of the blessedness of the departed, and their assurance of 
a happy reunion, I can only say with the Apostle, " It doth 
not yet appear what we shall be," and try to be satisfied with 
the consciousness that now are we the children of God ; — 
with the fullness of hope, and such an earnest of the king- 
dom of Heaven as maybe in completion hereafter — and 
always with the idea that our nearest and dearest im- 
mortals are waiting for us. 



The very prevalent faith in the joys of a hereafter, 
either in a gross or a more spiritual form, may satisfy the 
ardent desire of some ; the Scripture testimony is enough 
for others ; but in this age of reason and demonstration, I 

marvel not, dear , that thou art not so easily satisfied 

and comforted. ... I have no guesswork to give as to 
what the future will be, but I have full faith that what is 
best for us will be ours. Still I may say to thee, that in 
the oft-repeated heartrendings of ours, I have sought con- 
solation in vain from prevailing beliefs and the experience 
of spiritualists, — so far short of our high ideal of Heav- 
enly enjoyment, — but have caught some ray of futurity 
in the placid and beautiful expression in putting off mor- 
tality, when there is almost a halo over the face of the de- 

The above will little satisfy thy request to have the de- 
cision of my mind as to the destiny of us mortals ; I am 
equally unable to say aught to dry the tear of sorrow; 
only, let not your grief arise to murmur, nor repining to 
mingle with your woe. I love to quote the following : — 

"Pardon, just Heaven, but when the heart is torn, 
The human drop of bitterness will steal ; 
Nor can we lose the privilege to mourn 
While we have left the faculty to feel." 

I know full well how little the foregoing will satisfy 
thee, but Time is a never-failing healer of the anguish of 
such bereavements, while, in my own experience, not re- 
moving the longing desire to have our loved ones back 

With enduring love, L. Mott. 

From a Photograph by Gutekunst in 1875. 


In the loneliness which is the inevitable lot of 
those who survive their contemporaries, and which, 
though only a " vague unrest " compared to the sor- 
row of personal bereavement, is yet benumbing in 
its sense of desolation, Lucretia Mott found solace in 
the general kindliness that greeted her everywhere. 
The old times of disfavor had passed forever. In- 
stead of averted faces and open condemnation, she 
now met manifestations of tenderness and venera- 
tion. As death, year by year, removed the compan- 
ions of her long life, a younger generation arose to 
take their places, and to tend the declining steps of 
age with care and devotion. It was no unusual oc- 
currence for her to be addressed by strangers in the 
street, with the request that they might be allowed 
to take her hand a moment ; and once, a woman in 
deep mourning brushed quickly by her, and whis- 
pered as she passed, " God bless you, Lucretia 
Mott ! " 

In this fostering atmosphere of love and appreci- 
ation, her warm heart became like that of a little 
child, among friends ; and her face like that of a 
transfigured saint. Each year, as it stole something 
from her physical and mental vigor, but added to 
the gentle grace of her manner. She had lived to 
see the triumph of the great cause of Freedom, and 
her heart was filled with thankfulness. She could 



One and all join in wishing you a happy continuance, and 
a peaceful ending at the close, of your long and useful life. 
Yours with respect, 

A. H. Fracker, 
Geo. H. Edwards. 
On behalf of the company's employees. 

As her popularity extended, she received letters of 
a character very different from the foregoing. Many 
were appeals for money, or requests for autographs ; 
others for advice on all imaginable points ; from the 
choice of a profession, to the choice of a boarding- 
house or school. Some were based on a newly dis- 
covered relationship through the far-reaching Coffin 
family ; others on the nearer connection of similar- 
ity of interests. One letter, I remember, modestly 
asked for a list of all the public schools in Pennsyl- 
vania, in order that the writer might make applica- 
tion for the position of teacher in one of the most 
salubrious localities. Another earnestly recom- 
mended the investment of a large sum in the manu- 
facture of an article to "take the kink out of the 
hair of the negro," with the assurance of the writer, 
that this would do more to further his independence 
than any scheme of education and political equality. 
Still another effusion asked for a replenishing of 
household furniture, from bedding to silver spoons, 
" or plated will do ; " and ended, rhapsodically, " Had 
I the wings of a dove, I would fly to thee ! — Oh — 
and send a silk umbrella." 

Her replies, even to such, productions, were always 
courteous ; for she never liked to wound the feelings 
of any one. It was impossible to be other than 
amused at such nonsense, but she would soon check 
our merriment by saying, 44 Don't laugh too much, 



the poor souls meant well." And I remember once, 
when the sense of the ludicrous side of a question un- 
der discussion around the breakfast-table threatened 
to drown the merits of the case, that she rebuked us 
gently, saying, " I like fun too, but not fun made of 
serious subjects or serious people." Another time, 
commenting on some rather flippant remarks made 
in her presence, she said, " Let us have unbelief, but 
let it be a reverent unbelief." 

With the mysterious balance of mortal life, while 
in public she was reaping the fruit of her own faith- 
fulness, and the blessing of the multitude was being 
poured upon her, her domestic life was shadowed by 
one sorrow after another. Within two years of her 
husband's death, there followed that of her beloved 
sister, Eliza, the cherished companion of seventy 
years. In this bereavement she said, " No one knows 
how sadly I miss my dear sister. I pass by her 
house with an aching sense of desolation, and feel 
as a lone, lorn one left behind." In the course of 
the next six years, five more of the immediate fam- 
ily died, including her youngest sister, Martha C. 
Wright, and her eldest daughter, the sweet and 
gifted Anna M. Hopper. The former, a woman of 
fine presence, wide information, keen wit, and rare 
good sense, had been her fellow-laborer, her support, 
and sometimes her leader in the Woman's Rights re- 
form. The sisters were as united in their public 
career as in their domestic relations, and the separa- 
tion was a sad change to the one left behind. No 
wonder that she wrote, 44 It is time for me, too, to 
rest 'low in the ground,' beside your dear father's 
earthly all, and so near two dear daughters." 

Under these repeated inflictions her health, never 



robust, gave way, and the frail body yielded more 
and more to the infirmities of advanced age ; but 
the dominant spirit, clothed in immortal youth, tri- 
umphed over the weakness of the flesh, and could not 
be held back from doing "righteousness at all times." 
" They shall perish, bat thou shaft endure ; yea, all 
of them shall wax old like a garment ; . . . but thou 
art the same, and thy years shall have no end." 

More than ever did she now turn to the compan- 
ionship of certain books, of which Dean Stanley's 
Sermons — and particularly his Valedictory Address 
at St. Andrews — were the preeminent favorites. 
She had at first only the newspaper report of the 
latter address, which soon became worn out from 
much reading and lending ; and a new one, neatly 
pasted into a small blank book, was sent her by a 
friend. This she carried in her pocket, more to 
lend than to read, for she knew much of it by heart. 
She was never weary of calling attention to the 
sound liberality of the following passage : — 

" We often hear of the reconciliation of theology and 
science. It is not reconciliation that is needed, but the 
recognition that they are one and indivisible. Whatever 
enlarges our ideas of nature, enlarges our ideas of God. 
Whatever gives us a deeper insight into the nature of the 
Author of the Universe, gives us a deeper insight into the 
secrets of the universe itself. Whatever is bad in theol- 
ogy, is bad in science ; whatever is good in science, i-s also 
good in theology. In like manner, we sometimes hear of 
the reconciliation of religion and morality. The answer is 
the same ; they are one and indivisible. Whatever tends 
to elevate the virtue, the purity, the generosity of the stu- 
dent, is his religion. Whatever debases the mind, or cor- 
rupts the heart, or hardens the conscience, under whatever 
pretext, however specious, is infidelity of the worst sort." 



The addresses made by Dean Stanley during his 
sojourn in America were read by Lucretia Mott with 
absorbing interest. When they were published in 
book form, she bought a large number of copies to 
give away. Another favorite book was Arnold's 
poem, " The Light of Asia." 

She continued to attend some of the meetings and 
conventions held in Philadelphia, though she was 
able to speak but little. One of these occasions must 
be mentioned. It was the Centennial Anniversary 
of the Old Pennsylvania Abolition Society, held in 
one of the largest halls in the city. The place was 
thronged, and the platform crowded with those who 
had been active in the great cause. Henry Wilson, 
Senator from Massachusetts, presided, and William 
H. Fnrness made the opening prayer. After one or 
two speeches had been made, the president said : — 

" I propose now to present to you one of the most ven- 
erable and noble of the American women, whose voice for 
forty years has been heard, and has tenderly touched many 
noble hearts. Age has dimmed her eye and weakened her 
voice, but her heart, like the heart of a wise man and a 
wise woman, is yet young. I present to you Lucretia 

As she stepped forward, the vast audience rose 
with tumultuous applause, cheering, and waving 
their hats and handkerchiefs. She stood motionless, 
so frail in body, but with a heavenly inspiration 
beaming from her face, and awaited the profound si- 
lence that followed, when, in a voice slightly tremu- 
lous, but clear and impressive, she slowly repeated 
these lines : — 

" I 've heard of hearts unkind, kind words 
With coldness still returning. 


Alas ! the gratitude of man, 

Hath oftener left me mourning." 

Then, after a slight pause, she proceeded with the 
few remarks she had to make. It was a scene never 
to be forgotten by those present. 

Another similar ovation occurred on the Fourth of 
July of the following year, when the "National 
Woman's Suffrage Association" held a meeting in 
Dr. Furness' church, for the purpose of having the 
Woman's Declaration of Independence read. Mrs. 
Stanton presided. When Lucretia Mott rose to 
speak from her place among the audience, several 
persons called, " Go up into the pulpit." With a 
few deprecatory words, she complied with the re- 
quest, but hardly had she begun to ascend the steps, 
when a single clear voice began the hymn, " Nearer, 
my God, to thee," and, animated by a sentiment of 
appreciative reverence, the whole audience joined. 
Never was the beautiful hymn sung with more fer- 
vent expression, while the unconscious object of this 
subtle flattery quietly waited until it was finished, 
without the least suspicion of any personal applica- 
tion in what she considered a part of the regular 
service. Her humility was slow to appropriate com- 
pliments of any kind, though she was^not indifferent 
to discriminating praise. This reminds me of a re- 
mark she made to her daughter not many weeks be- 
fore her death. She heard read from the " Free Re- 
ligious Index " of September 16, 1880, an editorial 
notice of her increasing physical weakness, which was 
accompanied by a few reverent words regarding " the 
valuable lessons of her long life." She listened, and 
said, " It 's better not to be in a hurry with obitu- 
aries." Then, after a pause, she added in an under- 



tone, as though to herself, " I 'm a very much over- 
rated woman, — it is humiliating." 

It will be necessary now to turn back several 
years, to a time when, recovering somewhat from 
the shock of her husband's death, she once more en- 
tered into the affairs of the world around her. As 
in the preceding chapters, the narrative is left to 
her own letters. The first in order is the last one 
of the long series to her old friend in Ireland, Rich- 
ard D. Webb. 

Koadside, near Philada., 1st mo. 22nd, 1870. 
My dear Richard Webb, — I fear thou must think 
me heartless, after such a letter as thou sent me more 
than two months since, with the heart-rending inclosure of 
details of the awful ravages and suffering from the war in 
France, that no response has yet been made. What shall 
I say ? Could I have returned a list of contributors to- 
wards the relief of the sufferers, surely an answer would 
have been forthgoing. But any attempt to raise money 
here seemed a useless effort. The Hicksites have few 
rich — and the Orthodox prefer a distinct fund. They 
may have been appealed to from England, and not in 

Will not this terribly devastating war tend to open the 
eyes and conscience to the unchristian, the wicked, the 
barbarous resort to murderous weapons ? There is cer- 
tainly more life and interest in the Peace m gs now than 
ever before. The conventions are well attended, and higher 
ground is taken. A Peace Congress is resolved upon — 
when and where, hereafter to be decided. It only needs 
the will of the people, to substitute other settlements of 
claims and redress of grievances, and thus to make " war 
a game that kings shall not play at." 

Charles Sumner lately delivered a grand lecture on the 
subject, in which he called attention to the fact of the 
Working Men's Union in England having come out with a 



protest against war. Even the woman question, as far as 
voting goes, does not take hold of my every feeling as does 

But my small space for communing with thee must not 
all be devoted to my hobbies, so I will stop after saying, 
that a large and good meeting on " Woman Suffrage" has 
lately been held in Washington, by the Stanton-Anthony 
side ; and a very successful Bazaar in Boston, by the Stone- 
Blackwell party; each advocating the self-same measures. 

With dear love to thy daughter, Deborah, and thyself, 
with a wish not yet abandoned, that you will come back 
some day and settle among us, I will close. 


Next come some extracts from letters, mostly to 
members of the family, which give hints of the busy 
life of the writer, her varied interests, and her grad- 
ually declining strength, better than any one else 
can describe them. 

Phila., 11th mo. 13th, bright, clear day. 
. . . Yestermorn Anna and Maria looked over their 
wardrobe and made a large pile for Washington and Iowa ; 
for, be it known, we have a large box nearly filled to send 
there. I arranged for James Corr to come in this morn- 
ing, bring in what fowls and produce he can collect, then 
drive around with me, and gather up the gifts to take to 
the House of Industry and Race Street schoolroom, where 
Mary Jeans and Lydia Gillingham are intending to pack a 
box for Washington. 1 Then at 2 o'clock I am to meet Lucy 
Stone and Henry Blackwell at Dr. Child's, with as many 
as can go at so short notice, to consult as to a m tg here 
this winter. After sundry calls yesterday, and an hour at 
the photographer's (at his request), I whipped into the 
cars and out to Roadside, gave James Corr the above di- 
rections, took a cup of tea and toast, and in again at four- 
1 For the f reednien. 



thirty. So I had n't ray shawl and bonnet off after break- 
fast till arriving at John Wildman's to tea. . . . 

2nd mo. 4th, 1870. 

. . . What a pity as thou says, that let her share 

go beyond her control. Women will be slow to learn to 
assume pecuniary responsibility, even of their own. Ever 
taught to confide and trust in men in such matters, they 
risk more than they ought, where they have no exercise of 

judgment. No wonder such a loss made sick. That 

was the way it affected James, dear soul, when our little 
new shop in Fourth Street was going behind, in 1816. . . . 

I cannot summon much interest for signers to our peti- 
tion to the Judiciary Com. Sarah Pugh does her part. 
... I was in town at a meeting at the Old Colored Home 
on First-day, and told them of the funeral of Thomas Gar- 
rett the day before, which Edward Davis and myself at- 
tended. 1 Aaron Powell was there, and spoke admirably 
well ; also a Methodist minister of repute, and a fine, in- 
telligent colored man. Such a concourse of all sects and 
colors we never before saw ! The street lined for half a 
mile to the Meeting-House, and as many outside as in. 
Six colored men bore him that distance, and then into the 
graveyard adjoining. He was universally respected, and 
well-beloved by many, even though his name was cast out 
as evil in Anti-Slavery clays. 

1st mo. 20th, 1871. 
Every foot of added room in building adds to the 
work of a house. When I see a family of two or three 
in a large double house, the Indian wigwam seems desirable, 
rather than the constant toil of our so-called civilization ; 
and especially is this the case when the time of young 
mothers is absorbed in elaborate dresses for their children. 
Oh, the alarming extravagance of this age ! My soul mourns 
it often er than the morning. 

Although Lucretia Mott did not advocate the 

1 At Wilmington, Delaware. 


adoption of the Quaker dress by young people, she 
did try to influence them to dress simply, and seri- 
ously deprecated the waste of good material in long 
trains and needless trimmings. Her testimony in 
this respect was faithfully upheld, both in her ser- 
mons and her private conversation. In the New 
York Yearly Meeting of 1872, she closed an impres- 
sive discourse by an appeal to the young women for 
moderation and simplicity as a matter of conscience. 
The report says that " the women's gallery, with its 
array of ribbons and head-gear, fluttered its multitu- 
dinous fans very nervously at this." 

4th mo. 23rd, 1872, 
Some of us have watched for years the progress of 
free thought and speech in England, and have looked for 
more daring or moral courage, in expression and action, 
than has yet appeared. The tendency both in England 
and in this country, to engraft the popular creed on our 
simple Quaker religion, requires a firm withstanding, lest 
we be found preaching an outward, rather than an inward 
salvation ; directing to the letter which killeth, and not to 
the spirit which giveth life, thus building again the things 
which William Penn and his co-workers destroyed. The 
cardinal doctrine of our Society, — " the light within," — 
" the engrafted word," — is sufficient, if we only have faith 
in its teachings, and bear a true testimony to its unfoldings. 
Good works will ever be the standard for righteous judg- 
ment. This was the philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth, 
who is yet so little understood. 

8th mo. 26th, 1872. 
. . . Even these nothings of letters are becoming a 
burden, for I fail every week, and fear sometimes I shall 
not hold on till October, when we promised to meet in New 

York, and welcome and home. I was weighed 

yesterday, — only seventy-six and a half pounds now ! 



9th mo. 26th, 1872. 
o . . It was a disappointment to be taken sick just as I 

was preparing to go to 's wedding ; but I can't do such 

things any more. My day is over for application to any- 
thing but carpet rags. Seventeen yards are just woven, 
and so handsome that Maria and Edward protest against 
its covering our kitchen ; so they have divided it into rugs 
to give to our children. The weaver said that among all 
he had ever woven, he never saw any other so well mixed 
and sewed ; he had called neighbor Williams in to see it. 
Besides this work at odd hours, I have turned sheets and 
hemmed towels and darned the stockings. 

The foregoing letter may not be understood by the 
general reader, if not New England born and bred. 
The old-fashioned custom of making " hit-or-miss " 
carpets out of household rags, an economy inherited 
by our grandmother from her primitive Nantucket 
ancestors, was a favorite occupation of her leisure 
hours. She sewed the rags — generally with ravel- 
ings from some stronger material, instead of thread 
— into balls, weighing about a pound each, and when 
a sufficient number of these had been accumulated, 
sent them to a neighboring weaver to be woven into 
yard-wide strips. Her own, and some of her chil- 
dren's kitchens, were generally covered with car- 
peting of her make ; and one grandchild, at least, 
can remember a present of a large roll of some 
fifteen or twenty yards. The carpet in question was 
almost a work of art, so well assorted was it in color, 
and so finely and evenly woven. Many of us can 
remember how long the roll stood in the parlor cor- 
ner, and how pleased our grandmother was to ex- 
hibit it to guests, spreading it out over the floor with 
her own hands. It was finally cut into two yard 


lengths, and distributed as keepsakes ; and the next 
that she sewed — the last, as it proved — was woven 
into small rugs for gifts to her friends. 

The allusion in the next letter, and in some pre- 
vious ones, to the " dear Aged Colored Home," also 
calls for some explanation. This home is a charitable 
institution in West Philadelphia, in which our grand- 
mother was warmly interested. Long after she gave 
up driving, except for unavoidable errands or visits, 

— she never, at any time, drove for pleasure only, — 
she continued to go, at intervals, to the First-day 
service at this home. It was a drive of over twenty 
miles, there and back ; but I have known her to un- 
dertake it when she was suffering so acutely from 
dyspepsia that she could not sit upright in the car- 
riage, rather than disappoint the aged inmates who 
were expecting her. She also drove there regularly, 

— for years, — the day before Christmas, with gifts 
of turkeys, pies, apples, and vegetables, a gingham 
apron for each of the women, and a handkerchief 
apiece for the men. She did this until she was 

3rd mo. 13th, 1874. 
. . . Sumner's death has filled our thoughts. How full 
the papers are in his praise ; and well they may be ! I 
like our " Press " notice better than any other, as it says 
more of his peace efforts and productions. I wish we had 
more Sumners among our public men. When he delivered 
his last lecture in Phila., on " Duels between Nations," or 
some such title, I asked him if our Peace Society could 
have his " True Grandeur of Nations " to reprint. He said 
he would be willing, but that it was in the hands of his 
publishers, and he could not recall it. . . . The life of Mrs. 
Somerville, and John Stuart Mill's autobiography, are the 
only books we have read lately, but newspapers galore. 



William J. Potter's article in a late number of the " Index," 
on " Religion, and the Science of Religion," pleased me 
very much. Have you read Matthew Arnold's " Literature 
and Dogma " ? It is well worth reading : his nice distinc- 
tions in the Bible, — and bringing so into notice the " not 
ourselves " " which makes for righteousness." . . . 

. . . Maria went to meeting with me on Fourth-day, 
for I have arrived at the state not to be trusted alone ; 
therefore I shall soon give up going anywhere. I have 
already done riding more than I can help ; but, to tell the 
truth, I mean to go to the dear Aged Colored Home next 
First-day. All this morning I 've been summoning reso- 
lution to take the pen, which is an increasing burden, 
though when once begun, subjects crowd upon me. . . . 
Mother was six years younger than I am now, when she 
said, " I am almost past writing, my hand trembles so." My 
trembling increases much. ... I asked Maria to-day, if it 
was as pleasant to her as to me, to come out to our quiet 
home. This cosy little library has often been a blessed 

The next letter is interesting, as giving the origin 
of the motto, " Truth for Authority, not Authority 
for Truth," which Lucretia Mott adopted for her 

Roadside, 6th mo. 5th, 1877. 

Mary P. Allen : 

My dear Friend, — The visit of thy father, Nicholas 
Hallock, to our Yearly M g . with a minute, was about 1841. 
The word " Holy" applied to the Scriptures in our " Que- 
ries," drew forth some objections from him. He said that 
while he " fully appreciated the truths of the inspired writ- 
ers, and read the book (he presumed) with an interest equal 
to any present, there were accounts there of conduct which 
we should be unwilling our children should read if found in 
any other book" (naming some objectionable parts). 



Opposition followed ; after which a committee was named 
to consider the subject of indorsing minutes. Their re- 
port was, the practice should better be discontinued, which 
was united with. My son-in-law, Edward Hopper, thought 
it well to drop the practice, but could not unite with it 
now, if it was meant to apply to our friend Nicholas Hal- 
lock. He then arose, hoped the custom would be followed 
this year, and each minister's minute be indorsed save his 
own. This is as nearly correct as my memory, with Ed- 
ward's help, can give it. 

Either in his remarks above, or in another of his valua- 
ble testimonies while with us, thy father uttered those for- 
cible words, " Truth for authority, not authority for truth/' 
which, as I told thee, has long been my adopted motto. . . . 

In the autumn of 1869, Lucretia Mott went to 
Nantucket to attend the funeral of her life -long 
friend, Nathaniel Barney. And again, in the sum- 
mer of 1876, when she was eighty-three years old, 
she visited the home of her childhood. On this 
occasion she took the grandchildren and great-grand- 
children who were with her to see the old familiar 
landmarks ; Ray's pump, whose cool, fresh water her 
father had liked so well ; the old house, changed a 
little by the innovations of modern fashion, but still 
much the same as she remembered it ; the windmill, 
to which she had carried corn ; and the unmarked 
site of the whipping-post, around which she had seen 
a crowd gather to see a woman whipped. It was 
touching to see her stop in the street to speak to any 
aged person she met, with questions concerning the 
past, of seventy years before. She never saw her 
native island again, notwithstanding that at the time 
she fondly promised herself that she would revisit 
it the following summer. She never again had 



strength to take the fatiguing journey. But in the 
summer of 1878, in company with her friend, Sarah 
Pugh, not many years younger than herself, she 
went to Rochester, New York, to be present at the 
Thirtieth Anniversary Meeting of the Woman's 
Rights Society, and was able to make a short ad- 

On the seventh of First month, 1880, she attended 
for the last time the Executive Committee meeting 
of the Pennsylvania Peace Society, in which she 
still took a lively interest, but was not strong enough 
to remain throughout the session. Since 1870, she 
had been president of this association. 

Her last appearance in any public assembly was 
at the Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, in 
the Fifth month of the same year. A letter from 
one of her daughters to another gives the following 
graphic account of this : — 

Roadside, 5th mo. 17th, 1880. 

My dear Sister, — Yearly Meeting is over, and our 
bright young mother of eighty-seven none the worse for it ; 
but on the contrary in apparently better case than before it 
began. She always did thrive on excitement. We went 
into town every day but First and Third ; on Fourth and 
Fifth only to the afternoon sittings, but on the other days 
to both morning and afternoon. A room was kindly fur- 
nished at noon, in which she could have a rest, if not a 
sound sleep. It was an ovation every day, in the multi- 
tudes who came " just to take her by the hand," and the 
only way to escape this, for it was very exhausting, was to 
leave just before the closing minute was read. 

It was an interesting meeting throughout ; especially on 
Sixth-day morning. The report of the representative com- 
mittee was read then, wherein, among other things, they 
said, that temperance had been before them, but that 



" way did not open " to take action upon it. Deborah 
Wharton regretted this, and said that there was great need 
for action now ; whereupon the floodgates were opened, 
and the whole meeting seemed to resolve itself into a 
temperance convention, with now and then a wholesome 
warning against the twin evil, tobacco. Friends hoped 
that a general committee might be appointed to consider 
the subject. One suggested that a memorial be prepared, 
and sent to Congress, asking for the passage of the bill for 
investigation into the evil effects of the liquor traffic. She 
added that such a bill had been before Congress for two 
years without action having been taken upon it. Mother 
quickly rose, and said "perhaps the way had not opened!" 
This produced a suppressed titter of appreciative enjoy- 
ment, while she went on to say, that she was tired of that 
phrase ; it was a convenient excuse for doing nothing ; she 
had heard it often enough in years past, and also that " Is- 
rael must dwell alone," etc. . . . She spoke only a short 
time, but with unusual earnestness and feeling. 

I sat alone, and was often entertained by the side re- 
marks of those around ; as once, some one directly behind 
me, said to her companion, " Well, Lucretia has outlived 

her persecutors." And another time, just as finished 

a rather lengthy exhortation to the youth, a woman next 
me, whispered, " Her children ain't no better than other 
people's." . . . There is no question but that our mother is 
better than she was a week ago, and now she wants to carry 
out her intention of going to Medford and Cambridge. 

She never went. Day by day the journey was 
postponed, until it became evident that she was not 
strong enough to leave home again. Through the 
summer she was able to leave her room towards the 
latter part of the day, and spend several hours with 
the family, or with such friends as came to see her ; 
but she was averse to meeting strangers, formal con- 



versation having become a great exertion. Occasion- 
ally her old energy revived and she seemed like her- 
self ; but each temporary wave of vitality left her a 
little further stranded on the eternal shore. There 
was no suffering most of the time, but a steady de- 
cline of strength ; though her mental faculties re- 
mained unimpaired. She took her usual interest in 
hearing news of the outside world, and knew more 
of the exciting political campaign of that year than 
many with easier chances of information. Her pa- 
tience and sweetness are never to be forgotten. Un- 
like most invalids, her peculiarity lay in her exacting 
too little of those about her, whose whole desire was 
to serve her, and make the wearisome hours less 
heavy. She talked very little of her condition, re- 
serving her strength for matters of wider interest ; 
but once, in answer to a question, she said : " I do not 
dread death. Indeed, I dread nothing ; I am ready 
to go or to stay, but I feel that it is time for me to 
go." And then she added, impressively, " But re- 
member that my life has been a simple one ; let sim- 
plicity mark the last done for me. I charge thee, do 
not forget this." Another time she said: "I am 
willing to acknowledge all ignorance of the future, 
and there leave it. It does not trouble me. We 
know only that our poor remains 

' Softly lie, and sweetly sleep 
Low in the ground.' " 

About a month before her death she received a 
farewell visit from two old friends, Oliver Johnson 
and Robert Collyer, of which the former wrote after- 
wards to her daughter : — 

The picture which your mother presented as she lay 
there so calmly and quietly upon her bed, awaiting the 



close of her long and noble life, without any suggestion of 
fear ; the brightness of her mind, triumphing over the weak- 
ness of the flesh ; her gentle and affectionate words, in 
which she was so true to herself, and so considerate of oth- 
ers ; all this will remain forever stamped upon my mem- 
ory, and be frequently recalled as long as I live. I felt 
while under your roof that I was in a hallowed place, where 
all selfish ambitions should be hushed, and the soul lifted 
above all that is unworthy an immortal destiny. 

The close of this beloved life came on the evening 
of the eleventh of Eleventh month, after an illness 
of a week, and a mortal struggle of two days, too 
painful to recall. A niece, staying in the house, 
wrote of the earlier part to another relative : — 

Thou wilt be anxious to hear how dear Aunt Lucretia 
is, and Maria has asked me to write for her. . . . She has 
failed steadily, with much discomfort, followed by longer or 
shorter resting spells of natural sleep, and occasional inter- 
vals when she has lain quiet and comfortable, listening or 
not to the conversation in her room ; and when we have 
asked her if it disturbs her, replying, " O no ; it 's pleasant." 
Some days, and nights also, she has talked a great deal, but 
seldom in a connected way for more than a minute or two 
at a time. The thought seems to be clear in her mind, but 
with her extreme weakness it becomes confused before she 
is able to express it. . . . Yesterday she had an alarming 
sinking spell. We were called upstairs, and for twenty 
minutes watched, as we thought, for the last breath. She 
then revived and was comparatively comfortable, and slept 
some. On waking she was very restless, without the power 
to move much, but evidently suffering, and frequently say- 
ing " Oh dear ! " . . . There never was a sick person who 
required so little done for her. If we ask her, she gener- 
ally says she is pretty comfortable, and that she wants 
nothing. . . . Afternoon. There is nothing to add. Aunt 
Lucretia is sleeping quietly now. 



During the third night before her death, it seemed, 
as well as her daughter could gather from her rather 
incoherent words, that she thought she was attend- 
ing her own funeral, and addressing those present. 
The following detached sentences were written down 
at the time : — 

" If you resolve to follow the Lamb wherever you may 
be led, you will find all the ways pleasant, and the paths 

" I feel no concern for those of my own fold. I believe 
they are well grounded." 

" If an official ministers, let him know his place." 

" Now thee lead, Maria, and the rest will follow. First, 
all of my own fold will go. Now, follow as truth may 
open the way." 

" Decorous, orderly, and in simplicity." 

These last words were repeated many times. 

During the last twenty-four hours, she said over 
and over again, 44 Let me go!" "Do take me!" 
" Oh, let me die ! " 44 Take me now, this little 
standard-bearer." 44 The hour of my death." 

At four o'clock of the afternoon of the day she 
died, she suddenly threw up both hands to her head, 
exclaiming in a tone of anguish, 44 O my ! my ! my ! " 
and soon passed into a blessed sleep, from which she 
never roused. At half -past seven o'clock on the 
eleventh day of Eleventh month, 1880, with all of 
her remaining children, and several grandchildren 
and other relatives around her, she quietly stopped 

On the following First-day afternoon she was taken 
to rest beside her husband, and 44 near two dear 
daughters," in the Friends' burying-ground, at Fair 
Hill. In accordance with her own wishes, and those 




nearest to her, the arrangements for the funeral were 
64 decorous, orderly, and in simplicity." Although no 
invitations were issued, it was generally understood 
that those who desired to attend would be welcome. 
A large concourse gathered in the house. According 
to the custom among Friends, there was a solemn 
season of silence, after which short remarks were 
made by those who felt moved to speak. 

Her friend and contemporary, Deborah F. Whar- 
ton, quoted the passage, " Know ye not that there is 
a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel," 
and followed it by a few earnest words. William 
H. Furness then recited the beatitudes, and paid a 
warm tribute to the labors and worth of the departed, 
saying she did not need to wait for the future life; 
she had entered into her reward, and had enjoyed it 
an hundred fold, years ago. No mortal man or wo- 
man can do as much for the truth as it does for them. 
He concluded with a prayer, that the example of the 
beautiful life just ended upon earth might not be 
lost to the living. Several other friends made brief, 
but fervent remarks, and then sons and grandsons 
tenderly carried the little coffin away. At the bury- 
ing-ground several thousand people collected to wit- 
ness the interment of one who had been a friend to 
so many. With the exception of a few words by 
Dr. Henry T. Child, everything was conducted in 
profound silence. As all were standing by the open 
grave, a low voice impulsively said, " Will no one say 
anything? " and another near by responded, " Who 
can speak ? the preacher is dead ! " 

The following extract from a letter written by one 
nearly connected by marriage with our grandmother, 
speaks for itself : — 



Nov. 15th, 1880. 

... I think I told you some weeks ago that dear Aunt 
Lucretia was failing fast, though bright and interested in 
every one she saw. 

On Thursday evening, the 11 th , at half-past seven, she 
passed away, and yesterday the frail, beautiful body was 
laid in the grave. She looked very gentle, very sweet, as 
she lay in her coffin ; the grand head laid on its last pillow ; 
the slender, never- idle hands so meekly still ; the dear feet 
forever at rest, that for more than eighty years had gone 
about doing good. For God had called her while she was 
yet a child, as He did Samuel, to do His work, and to bear 
His message to the people. And surely Samuel's work 
among his own self-willed people was not greater than her's 
here in this land, where braggarts shouted for liberty and 
slavery in the same breath, and cruelty and Sodom-like 
immorality blasphemously called for the blessing of the 
Great Father Christ upon their horrible deeds. 

As I look back upon what I have known of her charac- 
ter, it seems perfect, that is, as far as we can reach per- 
fection ; strong, steadfast, wise, gentle, courteous, sympa- 
thizing ; and refined to a degree that showed how large 
brain and heart were — (for it is only as we become con- 
scious of the great spaces of God's love, that we become 
fine in all our thoughts and perceptions). 

You felt in her presence, to use her own words, that He 
had clothed her soul with a divine philosophy that no wea- 
riness of body, no sorrows of the heart, and no failing in 
plans or work could disturb or move. Not that these were 
not all felt at times, but the peace which we cannot under- 
stand lay beneath all. Eighty-seven years of a most beau- 
tiful life, in which we who look back upon it now that it is 
over, can see no flaw ! You cannot tell how strange it 
is to be without her, to know that she is no longer here. 
A light as if suddenly gone out ! . . . And yet her work 
seemed done, and though she took interest in those near 

v — 


and dear to her to the last, she was glad to go, she said. 
The weariness of the body was great, and she seemed to 
long to be taken to rest entire, and life imperturbable. One 
thinks of the meeting of the father and mother and their 
children, of the meeting with our dear mother 1 and dear 
sister Mary, to whom Aunt Lucretia was peculiarly at- 
tached. The love between the two sisters, mother and 
Aunt Lucretia, was just as close as that of my dear mother 
and Aunt Mary Howitt. This affection has always been a 
sweet peculiarity in both Ellis' family and mine, and a curi- 
ous resemblance ; for such sisterly love and friendship are 
rare in this world. 

The gathering in the house yesterday where the holy 
corpse lay, was very solemn. Now and again a silence fell 
on all, that was most impressive. . . . Words seem so slight 
in the presence of a death ; words of praise so useless, with 
such a life to think over. Silence is so strong and peace- 
giving. Very great numbers came to the house, though 
there was no public invitation. Aunt Lucretia had ex- 
pressed a desire that the funeral should be as quiet as pos- 
sible. In the graveyard there were crowds assembled, and 
many colored people. . . . 

Notices of the death of Lucretia Mott were gen- 
eral throughout the country, and, with but few ex- 
ceptions, were marked by reverential admiration of 
her life. Memorial meetings were held in various 
cities, at which eloquent addresses held up to pub- 
lic view the virtues of the departed reformer; and 
many of the liberal churches held special services 
in her memory. .The Society of Friends paid their 
usual tribute in the form of an excellent memorial, 
which was read before the Monthly Meeting to 
which she had belonged, and entered upon their 

1 Lucretia Mott's sister, Eliza C. Yarnall. 



I am permitted to close this Memoir with the fol- 
lowing extract from a sermon delivered by Samuel 
Longfellow, in the Unitarian Church, in German- 
town, Pennsylvania. 

. . . How can I say these things and speak of a life 
ordered by obedience to God's laws, without thinking of 
such a life that has just ended among us its earthly term. 
We shall no more look on the face of Lucretia Mott, that 
face which " was a benediction ; " that face which shone with 
the inner life of peace and the serenity of truth. We 
shall no more hear that voice speaking the words of cour- 
age, of simplicity, of sincerity, and of heavenly wisdom. 
Far beyond the common limit, the light of that counte- 
nance has been before us, and the words of that voice 
heard wherever an unpopular truth needed defense ; wher- 
ever a popular evil needed to be testified against ; wherever 
a wronged man or woman needed a champion. There she 
stood, there she spoke the word that the spirit of truth and 
right bade her speak. How tranquil and serene her pres- 
ence in the midst of multitudes that might become mobs ! 
How calm, yet how searching, her judgment against wrong- 
doing ! Her simple, straightforward words went right to 
the mark of the truth, right to the heart of the evil. 
There was a divine force in that " still small voice " of rea- 
son, of conscience, of unselfish purpose. No whirlwind of 
passion, or lightning of eloquence ; it was rather the dawn 
of clear day upon dark places and hidden. She had the 
enviable but rare power of " speaking the truth in love, 
without in the least abating the truth." 

She espoused the anti-slavery cause when to do so was 
a reproach and a peril ; and to the last bore her unflinching 
testimony against all bondage and in behalf of true liberty in 
every form. She espoused the cause of the right of women 
to speak in public and to vote, when both these were under 
the ban of ridicule and prejudice (not yet outgrown), and 


she manifested in herself the proof that women could take 
part in public affairs and speak on platform or in pulpit 
without the least dereliction of womanly dignity or mod- 
esty. Against the inhuman practice of settling national 
disputes by war, and in behalf of peace on earth, she spoke 
as if the angels of Bethlehem had come again. 

In behalf of freedom of inquiry in religion she was in the 
front against proscription and ecclesiastical authority ; " call 
me a radical of the radicals," she was wont to say, and she 
was ever keeping up with the best and freshest thinking of 
the time ; to the last, loving to read and recite from mem- 
ory the best words of the freshest, broadest, and loftiest 
minds. Channing and Dean Stanley she knew by heart. 

Her life was ordered by divine laws, not by human 
opinions and customs ; and so she was strong and calm, 
clear-sighted and sweet-hearted. Around her and beneath 
her were the everlasting Arms. The churches may brand 
her as a heretic; God must welcome her, "Well done, 
good and faithful servant ! " 




16 Pall Mall, 20th June, 1840. 

Madam, — Taking the liberty of protesting against 
being supposed to adopt any of the complimentary phrases 
in your letter as being applicable to me, I readily comply 
with your request to give my opinion as to the propriety of 
the admission of the female delegates into the Convention. 

I should premise by avowing that my first impression 
was strong against that admission, and I believe I declared 
that opinion in private conversation. But when I was 
called on by you to give my personal decision on the sub- 
ject, I felt it my duty to investigate the grounds of the 
opinion I had formed ; and upon that investigation, I easily 
discovered that it was founded on no better grounds than 
an apprehension of the ridicule it might excite if the Con- 
vention were to do what is so unusual in England, — - to 
admit women to an equal share and right of discussion. 
I also, without difficulty, recognized that this was an un- 
worthy, and indeed a cowardly motive, and I easily over- 
came its influence. 

My mature consideration of the entire subject convinces 
me of the right of the female delegates to take their seats 
in the Convention, and of the injustice of excluding them. 
I do not care to add, that I deem it also impolitic ; because 



that exclusion being unjust, it ought not to have taken place, 
even if it could also be politic. 

My reasons are, First, — That as it has been the prac- 
tice in America for females to act as delegates and office- 
bearers, as well as in the common capacity of members of 
anti-slavery societies, the persons who called this Conven- 
tion ought to have warned the American Anti-Slavery So- 
cieties to confine their choice to males ; and, for want of 
this caution, many female delegates have made long jour- 
neys by land, and crossed the ocean, to enjoy a right which 
they had no reason to fear would be withheld from them 
at the end of their tedious voyage. 

Secondly, — The cause which is so intimately interwoven 
with every good feeling of humanity, and with the highest 
and most sacred principles of Christianity, — the Anti- 
Slavery cause in America, — is under the greatest, the 
deepest, the most heart-binding obligations to the females 
who have joined the anti-slavery societies in the United 
States. They have shown a passive but permanent cour- 
age, which ought to have put many of the male advocates 
to the blush. The American ladies have persevered in our 
holy cause, amidst difficulties and dangers, with the zeal of 
confessors, and the firmness of martyrs ; and, therefore, em- 
phatically, they should not be disparaged or discouraged by 
any slight or contumely offered to their rights. Neither 
are the slight and contumely much diminished by the fact 
that it was not intended to offer any slight or to convey 
any contumely. Both results inevitably follow from the 
fact of rejection. This ought not to be. 

Thirdly, — Even in England, with all our fastidiousness, 
women vote upon the great regulation of the Bank of Eng- 
land, in the nomination of its directors and governors, and 
in all other details equally with men ; that is, they assist in 
the most awfully important business, the regulation of the 
currency of this mighty empire, influencing the fortunes of 
all commercial nations. 



Fourthly, — Our women, in like manner, vote at the 
India House, — that is, in the regulation of the govern- 
ment of more than one hundred millions of human beings. 

Fifthly, — Mind has no sex ; and in the peaceable strug- 
gle to abolish slavery, all over the world, it is the basis 
of the present Convention to seek success by peaceable, 
moral, and intellectual means alone, to the utter exclusion 
of physical force or armed violence. We are engaged in a 
strife, not of strength, but of argument. Our warfare is 
not military, — it is strictly Christian. We wield not the 
weapons of destruction or injury to our adversaries. We 
rely entirely on reason and persuasion, common to both 
sexes, and on the emotions of benevolence and charity, 
which are more lovely and permanent amongst women 
than amongst men. 

In the church to which I belong, the female sex are de- 
voted by as strict rules, and with as much, if not more un- 
ceasing austerity, to the performance (and that to the ex- 
clusion of all worldly or temporal joys and pleasures) of all 
works of humanity, of education, of benevolence, and of 
charity in all its holy and sacred branches, as the men. 

The great work in which we are now engaged embraces 
all these charitable categories ; and the women have the 
same duties, and should therefore enjoy the same rights 
with the men, in the performance of their duties. 

I have a consciousness that I have not done my duty in 
not sooner urging these considerations on the Convention. 
My excuse is, that I was unavoidably absent during the 
discussion of the subject. 

I have the honor to be very respectfully, madam, your 
obedient servant, Daniel O'Connell. 

Mrs. Lucretia Mott. 




London, June 27th, 1840. 
Dear Friend, — I snatch the few last minutes of a 
very hurried time before embarking for Germany, to ex- 
press to you and your fellow-delegates the sense I have of 
your unworthy reception in this country, which has grown 
on me for the last week, extremely ; even amid the over- 
whelming pressure of arrangements, inevitable on quitting 
London for a considerable stay abroad. Mary and myself 
greatly regret that we had left our home before we had the 
opportunity of seeing you, or we should have had the sin- 
cerest pleasure in welcoming you there to spend at least 
one day of quiet, as pleasant as that which we spent with 
you at our worthy friend, Mr. Ashurst's, at Muswell Hill. 
I regret still more that my unavoidable absence from town 
prevented my making part of the Convention, as nothing 
should have hindered me from stating there, in the plainest 
terms, my opinion of the real grounds on which you were 

It is pitiable that you were excluded on the plea of 
being women ; but it is outrageous that, under that plea, 
you were actually excluded as heretics. That is the real 
ground of your exclusion, and it ought to have been at 
once proclaimed and exposed by the liberal members of the 
Convention ; but I believe they were not aware of the fact. 
I heard of the circumstance of your exclusion at a dis- 
tance, and immediately said, " Excluded on the ground 
that they are women ? No, that is not the real cause, — 
there is something behind. Who and what are these fe- 
male delegates ? Are they orthodox in religion ? " The 
answer was, " No, they are considered to be of the Hicks- 
ite party of Friends." My reply was, " That is enough, — 
there lies the real cause, and there needs no other ; the in- 
fluential Friends in the Convention would never for a mo- 



ment tolerate their presence there, if they could prevent it. 
They hate them, because they have dared to call in ques- 
tion their sectarian dogmas and assumed authority ; and 
they have taken care to brand them in the eyes of the Cal- 
vinistic Dissenters, who form another large and influential 
portion of the Convention, as Unitarians, — in their eyes 
the most odious of heretics." 

But what a miserable spectacle is this ! The " World's 
Convention" converting itself into the fag-end of the 
Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends. That Conven- 
tion, met from various countries and climates to consider 
how it shall best advance the sacred cause of humanity, — 
of the freedom of the race, independent of caste or color, 
— immediately falls the victim of bigotry, and one of its 
first acts is, to establish a caste of sectarian opinion, and to 
introduce color into the very soul ! Had I not seen, of 
late years, a good deal of the spirit which now rules the 
Society of Friends, my surprise would have been unbounded 
at seeing them argue for the exclusion of women from a 
public body, as women. But nothing which they do now 
surprises me. They have in this case, to gratify their 
wretched spirit of intolerance, at once abandoned one of 
the most noble and most philosophical of the established 
principles of their own Society. That Society claims, and 
claims justly, to be the first Christian body which has rec- 
ognized the great Christian doctrine, that there is no 
sex in souls ; that male and female are all one in Christ 
Jesus. They were Fox and Penn, and the first giants of 
the Society, who dared, in the face of the whole world's 
prejudices, to place woman in her first rank, — to recog- 
nize and maintain her moral and intellectual equality. It 
was this Society which thus gave to woman her inalienable 
rights — her true liberty ; which restored to her the ex- 
ercise of mind, and the capacity to exhibit before man, her 
assumed lord and master, the highest qualities of the hu- 
man heart and understanding : discretion, sound counsel, 



sure sagacity, mingled with feminine delicacy, and that 
beautiful, innate modesty which avails more to restrain its 
possessor within the bounds of prudence and usefulness, 
than all the laws and customs of corrupt society. It was 
this Society which, at once fearless in its confidence in 
woman's goodness and sense of propriety, gave to its 
female portion its own Meetings of Discipline, meetings 
of civil discussion, and transaction of actual and various 
business. It was this Society which did more ; which per- 
mitted its women, in the face of a great apostolic injunc- 
tion, to stand forth in its churches and preach the gospel. 
It has in fact sent them out, armed with the authority of 
its certificates, to the very ends of the earth, to preach in 
public ; to visit and persuade in private. And what has 
been the consequence ? Have the women put their faith 
and philosophy to shame ? Have they disgraced themselves 
or the Society which has confided in them ? Have they 
proved by their follies, their extravagances, their unwo- 
manly boldness and want of a just sense of decorum, that 
these great men were wrong? On the contrary, I will 
venture to say, and I have seen something of all classes, 
that there is not in the whole civilized world a body of 
women to be found, of the same numbers, who exhibit 
more modesty of manner and delicacy of mind than the 
ladies of the Society of Friends ; and few who equal them 
in sound sense and dignity of character. . . . 

And here have gone the little men of the present day, 
and have knocked down, in the face of the world, all that 
their mighty ancestors, " in this respect, had built up." If 
they are at all consistent, they must carry out their new 
principle, and sweep with it through the ancient constitution 
of their own Society. They must at once put down meet- 
ings of discipline amongst their women ; they must call 
home such as are in distant countries or are traversing this, 
preaching and visiting families. There must be no more 
appointments of women to meet committees of men, to de- 



liberate on matters of great importance to the Society. 
But the fact is, my dear friend, that bigotry is never con- 
sistent, except that it is always narrow, always ungracious, 
and always, under plea of uniting God's people, scattering 
them one from another, and rendering them weak as water. 
. . . The Convention has not merely insulted you, but 
those who sent you. It has testified that the men of Amer- 
ica are at least far ahead of us in their opinion of the dis- 
cretion and usefulness of women. But above all, this act 
of exclusion has shown how far the Society of Friends is 
fallen from its ancient state of greatness and catholic no- 
bleness of spirit. . . . 

I have heard the noble Garrison blamed that he has not 
taken his place in the Convention, because you, his fellow- 
delegates, were excluded. I, on the contrary, honor him for 
his conduct. In mere worldly wisdom he might have en- 
tered the Convention, and there entered his protest against 
the decision, — but in at once refusing to enter where you, 
his fellow-delegates, were shut out, he has entered a far 
nobler protest, not in the mere Convention, but in the 
world at large. I honor the lofty principle of that true 
champion of humanity, and shall always recollect with de- 
light the day Mary and I spent with him. 

I must apologize for this most hasty, and, I fear, illegible 
scrawl, and with our kind regards, and best wishes for your 
safe return to your native country, and for many years of 
honorable labor there, for the truth and freedom, I beg to 
subscribe myself, 

Most sincerely your friend, William Howitt. 



It would be difficult to find an instance of unjust 
and high - handed persecution, greater than that 
which was meted out to Hannah Barnard by the 



Society of Friends in England, in 1797, and which 
was followed up in this country, after her return. 

One of the last letters which Lucretia Mott wrote 
— a letter addressed to her cousin, Phebe Earle Gib- 
bons — was in relation to this unjust and unwarrant- 
able proceeding. In it she says : — 

... I have always regretted that so little has been pub- 
lished of the sad experience of that remarkable woman, Han- 
nah Barnard ; but I have no authentic data to give now. 

She was born in Nantucket, and removed with her 
parents to Hudson, I think before the War of the Revolu- 
tion, for my mother remembered her being on a religious 
visit to Nantucket before the year 1800. About that time 
she went to England with a certificate from the Meeting 
of Ministers and Elders, signed by John Murray, James 
Parsons, and James Mott (our grandfather) ; Elizabeth 
Coggeshall being her companion. While she was in Eng- 
land, a complaint was sent thence to the Monthly Meeting 
of Hudson, accusing her of unsound doctrine bordering on 
infidelity ; and a letter was sent to her by the three Elders, 
encouraging her to return to her home. This was, I think, 
after London Meeting had taken up the case. That meet- 
ing disowned her. When her case was opened in that 
meeting, her companion, Elizabeth Coggeshall, fainted. 

On their return home, Hudson Meeting could do no less, 
in their reverence for London Meeting, than to deny her 
right of membership. Her letter in reply to the Elders 
was an excellent production, stating her own case clearly, 
and the injustice of the treatment which she had received, 
saying, that when she had preached against war, as never 
having been prosecuted by the command of the Divinity, 
she had been accused of denying the authenticity of the 
Scriptures ; and whereas^ Jesus had faith in Moses, there- 
fore she denied Jesus, and was an infidel. 

This is from memory. The papers were sent to us by 
our mother Mott, with the certificate and other papers. I 



valued them highly, and often sent them to our Friends, 
John Comly and others ; but at length they disappeared 
and no search could restore them ; so that I have some- 
times feared a pious fraud had been practiced. Among 
the papers was Hannah Barnard's creed, opposed to any 
"scheme of salvation." 

She lived to witness our Separation, and said that she 
had lived to see the Society divided on the ground on which 
she was disowned. 

She and her husband and family lived comfortably to- 
gether in Hudson. She was well known as a friend to 
the poor and afflicted. . . . Some traveling Friends paid 
a religious visit to her, advising her to "return, repent, 
and live." Before they left, she addressed them thus : 
" Friends, your preaching does not apply to me." . . . 

Some of the liberal Friends in Chester County were 
much disturbed by the dealings with Hannah Barnard, 
and expressed themselves freely. Soon after, there was 
a revision of our Discipline in the early part of this cen- 
tury, and Jonathan Evans and some others had that clause 
added which makes it a disownable offense to deny the 
Divinity of Christ, and the % authenticity of the Scriptures. 
I learned this fifty years ago. 


MASS., MARCH 23RD AND 24TH, 1848. 

... I have little to add to what has already been said. 
The distinction has been clearly and ably drawn between 
mere forms and rituals of the Church, and practical good- 
ness ; between the consecration of man, and the consecra- 
tion of days ; the dedication of the Church, and the dedica- 
tion of our lives to God. 

But might we not go farther, and show that we are not 



to rely so much upon books, even upon the Bible itself, as 
upon the higher revelation within us ? The time is come, 
and especially in New England is it come, that man should 
judge of bis own self what is right; and that he should 
seek authority less from the Scriptures. 

. . . Those who differ from us would care little for an 
Anti-Sabbath Convention which should come to the con- 
clusion that, after all, it would be best to have one day in 
seven set apart for religious purposes. Few intelligent 
clergymen will now admit that they consecrate the day in 
any other sense, or that there is any inherent holiness in it. 
If you should agree that this day should be for more holy 
purposes than other days, you have granted much that they 
ask. Is not this Convention prepared to go farther than 
this ? to dissent from this idea, and declare openly that it 
is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day ? That it is the 
consecration of all our time to God and to goodness, that is 
required of us? Not by demure piety; not by avoiding 
innocent recreation on any day of the week, but by such a 
distribution of time as shall give sufficient opportunity for 
such intellectual culture and spiritual improvement, as our 
mental and religious nature requires. 

In the scripture authority, however, as it has been cited, 
it might have been shown, that even in the times of the 
most rigid Jewish observance, it was regarded only as a 
shadow of good things to come. " I gave them also my 
Sabbaths to be a sign unto them." The distinction was 
then made, by the more faithful and discerning of their 
people, between mere formal worship and practical good- 
ness. " Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? Who 
shall dwell in thy holy hill ? He that walketh uprightly, 
and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his 
heart." When these things were not done, even the tem- 
ple worship became an abomination; the Sabbaths, the 
holy meetings, he was weary of them. Their clear-sighted 
prophets spoke in the name of the Plighest to those who 



had violated the law of right: "I hate, I despise your 
feast-days." " The new moons and Sabbaths, the calling 
of assemblies, I cannot away with ; it is iniquity, even the 
solemn meeting." They were called to amend their ways 
and their doings — " to do justly, love mercy, and walk 
humbly." There is now, as there ever has been, but one 
test — one standard of true worship. 

... It has been said here, that we are not bound by the 
Old Testament; but are we to bind ourselves to the New 
Testament authority? Enough has already been quoted 
from that book, to prove all that we would ask, with re- 
gard to the day. There is no evidence, no testimony there 
found, that will authorize the consecration of one day above 
another. Jesus recognized no such distinction; and the 
Apostle Paul said, " Let every man be fully persuaded in 
his own mind. He that regardeth the day, unto the Lord 
he doth regard it ; and he that regardeth not the day, unto 
the Lord he doth not regard it." These equally give God 
thanks. There is all this liberal view, and it is well to 
bring it before the people. But, after all, are we to take^ 
this as our sufficient authority? Suppose some of them 
had been so under their Jewish prejudices as to teach the 
importance of the observance of the day, would that have 
made it obligatory on us ? No, we are not called to follow 
implicitly any outward authority. Suppose that Jesus him- 
self had said, with regard to the day, as he did in allusion to 
his baptism by John, " Suffer it to be so now," would that 
have made it binding on us ? Is the example of the an- 
cients, whether Prophets or Apostles, or the " beloved Son 
of God " himself, sufficient for the entire regulation of our 
action at the present day ? No ; Jesus testified to his dis- 
ciples, that when the spirit of truth was come, they should 
be taught all things, and should do the things which he did, 
and greater. The people were not then prepared for more. 
The time would come when that which was spoken in the 
ear, in closets, should be proclaimed on the housetop. He 



urged upon his disciples to keep their eye single, that their 
whole body might be full of light. 

His practice, then, in any of these observances, is not 
sufficient authority for us. We are not required to walk in 
the exact path of our predecessors, in any of our steps 
through life. We are to conform to the spirit of the pres- 
ent age, to the demand of the present life. Our progress is 
dependent upon our acting out our convictions. New bot- 
tles for new wine now, as in days past. Let us not be 
ashamed of the gospel we profess, so far as to qualify it 
with any orthodox ceremonies or expressions. We must 
be willing to stand out in our heresy ; especially, as already 
mentioned, when the duty of Sabbath observance is carried 
to such an extent, that it is regarded, too generally, a greater 
crime to do an innocent thing on the first day of the week, 
— to use the needle, for instance, — than to put a human 
being on the auction block on the second day ; — a greater 
crime to engage in harmless employment on the first day, 
than to go into the field of battle, and slay our fellow-be- 
ings, either on that or other days of the week ! While 
there is this palpable inconsistency, it is demanded of us, 
not only to speak plainly, but to act out our convictions, 
and not seem to harmonize with the religious world gener- 
ally, when our theory is not in accordance with theirs. 

Many religionists apparently believe that they are conse- 
crating man to the truth and the right, when they convert 
him to their creeds, — to their scheme of salvation and 
plan of redemption. They, therefore, are very zealous for 
the traditions of their fathers, and for the observance of 
days ; while at the same time, as already mentioned^ they 
give countenance to war, slavery, and other evils ; not be- 
cause they are wholly reckless of the condition of man, 
but because such is their sectarian idea. Their great er- 
ror is in imagining that the highest good is found in their 
church. . . . 

In the existing state of society, while the laborer is over- 



tasked, and has so little respite from his toil, we may in- 
deed rejoiee that, by common consent, he has even this one 
day in seven for rest, when, if he choose, he ought to be 
encouraged to go out with his family, in steamboat and 
railway cars ; and in the fields and woods he might offer 
acceptable homage and worship to the Highest. This ac- 
tion of his need not interfere at all with the conscientious 
action of those who believe they may more acceptably 
worship God in temples made with hands. But if we take 
the ground, that all should rather assemble on that day to 
worship, and to hear what is called religious instruction, 
there is danger of our yielding the very point for which we 
are called together. 

Many of us verily believe that there is, on the whole, 
material harm done to the people, in these false observ- 
ances, and in the dogmas which are taught as religious 
truth. So believing, we should endeavor to discourage 
this kind of devotion, and correct these errors by plain 
speaking and honest walking, — rather than, by our exam- 
ple and our admissions, do that which shall go to strengthen 
superstition, and increase idolatry in the land. 

Later, in the same convention, she said : — 

Our friend makes a difference between calling the day 
Sabbath, and recognizing it as the Lord's Day. Is not this 
a distinction in terms only, but the same thing in fact? 
The mere change of the day from the seventh to the first 
of the week does not meet all the wants of the people on 
this subject. We may call it Sabbath or Lord's Day, and 
be equally in darkness as to the nature of true worship. 

We may deceive ourselves, in our care not to offend our 
neighbors, who are Sabbatarians, or Lord's Day observers. 
For their sakes we seem to observe the day, refraining 
from that which, on another day, would be right, but which 
might wound them. Upon a closer examination of our 
motives, it may be our own love of approbation and selfish- 



ness that is wounded. If so, there is a kind of hypocrisy 
in the act of seeming to be what we are not. We have 
need to guard ourselves against any compromise for the 
sake of man's praise. 

For years after my mind was satisfied on this subject, if 
engaged in sewing on First-day, and a domestic or other 
person entered the room, the work was laid by or con- 
cealed, that their feelings should not be hurt. But on be- 
ing asked why I did not also, for the same reason, go to 
the communion table, or submit to baptism, I could not an- 
swer satisfactorily, and was at length convinced that more 
harm was done to myself and children, in the little decep- 
tion practiced, than in working " openly, uncondemned, 
and in secret doing nothing." As advocates of the truth, 
we must be willing to be il made of no reputation," to lose 
caste among our people. If we seek to please men, we 
" make the cross of Christ" (to use a symbolical expression) 
" of no effect." Let us, therefore, stand fast in the liberty 
wherewith the truth has made us free. 

There are various reasons for keeping this convention 
on very simple ground, — not blending it with any of the 
popular views of the subject, which prevail to such an ex- 
tent. We shall do more, in this way, to promote the cause 
of practical Christianity, than by yielding to the prevailing 
idea, that worship is more acceptable on one day in seven, 
than doing right every day of the week. The character of 
many of these reformers, — their interest in the various 
concerns of humanity, — the sacrifices they have made for 
the good of their fellow-beings, — all testify to their devo- 
tion to God and humanity. They feel it incumbent upon 
tkem to be exceedingly careful in their conduct on all days 
of the week, so that those who speak evil of them as evil- 
doers may be ashamed when they falsely accuse them. 
Numbers of these have seen to the end of gathering to- 
gether for religious purposes. They understand the vision 
of John in the Revelation, describing the New Jerusalem, 



the holy city ; and he " saw no temple therein, for the Lord 
God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." These 
cultivate the religious sentiment every day. They feel in 
their hearts the raising of praise and hallelujah unto their 
God, when they go forth into the fields and groves. God's 
temple is there ; and they no longer need to enter the out- 
ward temple to perform their vows and make their offer- 
ings. " Let every man be fully persuaded in his own 

There are signs of progress in the movements of the age. 
The superstitions and idols in our midst are held up to the 
view of the people. Inquiring minds are asking, " Who 
shall show us any good ? " These are dissatisfied with the 
existing forms and institutions of religious sects, and are 
demanding a higher righteousness — uprightness in every- 
day life The standard of creeds and forms must be low- 
ered, while that of justice, peace, and love one to another, 
must be raised higher and higher. " The earth shall be 
filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord." We 
wait for no imagined millennium — no speculation or arith- 
metical calculation — no Bible research — to ascertain when 
this shall be. It only needs that the people examine for 
themselves — not pin their faith on ministers' sleeves, but 
do their own thinking, obey the truth, and be made free. 
The kingdom of God is nigh, even at the door. He dwell- 
eth in your midst, though ye know it not. 

This is no longer the peculiar creed of the Quaker. It 
is coming to be universally acknowledged in the hearts of 
the people, and if faithful, the bright day of liberty, of 
knowledge and truth, shall be hastened. It is of more im- 
portance to live up to our convictions of right, than to sub- 
scribe to the creed of any church. May our light so shine, 
that men may see our good works, and glorify our Father 
in Heaven, even though our worship of him may be after 
the way called heresy. We may be instructed by the 
prayer of the Apostle Paul for his brethren : " I pray to 



God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear ap- 
proved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though 
we be as reprobates; for we can do nothing against the 
truth, but for the truth." 

Every fetter which superstition and sectarian bigotry 
have imposed must be broken before the mind of man will 
be free. The pulpit and the press may yet be enlisted 
even in this cause. If the reformer be faithful to his con- 
victions, and make no compromise with the religion of the 
day ; if he do not seem to believe that for which he has no 
respect ; if he come not to the table of the Lord unwor- 
thily, the time will not be long before the clergymen of 
the various sects will investigate this subject with other 
spectacles than those they have hitherto worn. 

This is no new subject. I am one of the older members 
of this convention. I have been familiar with these views 
from my early days, being accustomed to hear the remarks 
of the venerable Elias Hicks, who bore his testimony 
against all penal enactments for enforcing the observance 
of the Sabbath. He traveled extensively through New 
York and Pennsylvania, and after much observation came 
to the conclusion, that crime and licentious indulgence were 
greatly increased by the existing arrangement of society on 
this subject. He remarked for himself, that he was care- 
ful on the first day of the week, as on the fourth, not to do 
so much work in the morning as would unfit him for the 
enjoyment of his meeting ; but after meeting, on either 
day, if he had a field of wheat which needed cradling, he 
would not hesitate to do it, and the law forbidding it on 
the First-day was oppressive to his conscience. His view 
was, that there should be such regulation of time as should 
over-tax none with labor on any day of the week — that 
darkness was spread over the land half the time, when man 
might rest ; and after such devotional exercises as he might 
choose for himself, he should have the advantage of inno- 
cent relaxation. A person present, opposing him, stated 



how he observed the day — that he wished all to be quiet 
— no secular business, etc. Elias replied, " I consider thee 
as much under the effect of superstition, as thou would be 
in the observance of any other of the Jewish rites." Dur- 
ing that discussion, impressions were made which I have 
ever remembered. They were strengthened in after years, 
and I now feel the more prepared by my feeble expression, 
to encourage those who have been pioneers in other labors 
of reform. 



Delivered Twelfth Month 17 th, 1849. 

There is nothing of greater importance to the well-be- 
ing of society at large — of man as well as woman — than 
the true and proper position of woman. Much has been 
said, from time to time, upon this subject. It has been a 
theme for ridicule, for satire, and sarcasm. We might look 
for this from the ignorant and vulgar ; but from the intel- 
ligent and refined we have a right to expect that such 
weapons shall not be resorted to, that gross comparisons 
and vulgar epithets shall not be applied, so as to place 
woman, in a point of view, ridiculous to say the least. 

This subject has claimed my earnest interest for many 
years. I have long wished to see woman occupying a more 
elevated position than that which custom for ages has al- 
lotted to her. _It was with great regret, therefore, that I 
listened a few days ago to a lecture upon this subject, 
which, though replete with intellectual beauty, and con- 
taining much that was true and excellent, was yet fraught 
with sentiments calculated to retard the progress of woman 
to the high elevation destined by her Creator. I regretted 



the more that these sentiments should be presented with 
such attractiveness, because they would be likely to ensnare 
the young. 

The minds of young people generally are open to the 
reception of more exalted views upon this subject. The 
kind of homage that has been paid to woman, the flattering 
appeals which have too long satisfied her — appeals to her 
mere fancy and imagination — are giving place to a more 
extended recognition of her rights, her important duties 
and responsibilities in life. Woman is claiming for herself 
stronger and more profitable food. Various are the indica- 
tions leading to this conclusion. The increasing attention 
to female education, the improvement in the literature of 
the age, especially in what is called the " Ladies' Depart- 
ment," in the periodicals of the day, are among the proofs 
of a higher estimate of woman in society at large. There- 
fore we may hope that the intellectual and intelligent are 
being prepared for the discussion of this question, in a 
manner which shall tend to ennoble woman and dignify 

Free discussion upon this, as upon all other subjects, is 
never to be feared ; nor will it be, except by such as prefer 
darkness to light. " Those only who are in the wrong 
dread discussion. The light alarms those only who feel 
the need of darkness." It was sound philosophy uttered 
by Jesus, " He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that 
his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in 

I have not come here with a view of answering any par- 
ticular parts of the lecture alluded to, in order to point out 
the fallacy of its reasoning. The speaker, however, did 
not profess to offer anything like argument on that occa- 
sion, but rather a sentiment. I have no prepared address 
to deliver to you, being unaccustomed to speak in that 
way ; but I felt a wish to offer some views for your consid- 
eration, though in a desultory manner, which may lead to 



such reflection and discussion as will present the subject in 
a true light. 

In the beginning, man and woman were created equal. 
" Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and 
called their name Adam." He gave dominion to both over 
the lower animals, but not to one over the other. 

" Man o'er woman 
He made not lord, such title to himself 
Keserving, human left from human free." 

The cause of the subjection of woman to man was early- 
ascribed to disobedience to the command of God. This 
would seem to show that she was then regarded as not oc- 
cupying her true and rightful position in society. 

The laws given on Mount Sinai for the government of 
man and woman were equal, and the precepts of Jesus 
make no distinction. Those who read the Scriptures, and 
judge for themselves, not resting satisfied with the per- 
verted application of the text, do not find the distinction 
that theology and ecclesiastical authorities have made, in 
the condition of the sexes. In the early ages, Miriam and 
Deborah, conjointly with Aaron and Barak, enlisted them- 
selves on the side which they regarded the right, unitedly- 
going up to their battles, and singing their songs of victory. 
We regard these with veneration. Deborah judged Israel 
many years — she went up with Barak against their ene- 
mies with an army of ten thousand, assuring him that the 
honor of the battle should not be to him, but to a woman. 
Revolting as were the circumstances of their success, the 
acts of a semi-barbarous people, yet we read with reverence 
r the song of Deborah : " Blessed above women shall Jael, 
the wife of Heber, the Kenite, be ; blessed shall she be 
above women in the tent. . . . She put her hand to the 
nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer ; she 
smote Sisera through his temples. At her feet he bowed, 
he fell, he lay down dead." This circumstance, at vari- 
ance with Christianity, is recognized as an act befitting 



woman in that clay. Deborah, Huldah, and other honora- 
ble women, were looked up to and consulted in times of 
exigency, and their counsel was received. In that eastern 
country, with all the customs tending to degrade woman, 
some were called to fill great and important stations in soci- 
ety. There were also false prophetesses as well as true. 
The denunciations of Ezekiel were upon those women who 
would " prophesy out of their own heart, and sew pillows 
to all armholes," etc. 

Coming down to later times, we find Anna, a prophetess 
of four-score years, in the temple clay and night, speaking 
of Christ to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusa- 
lem. Numbers of women were the companions of Jesus 
— one going to the men of the city, saying, " Come, see a 
man who told me all things that ever I did ; is not this the 
Christ ? " Another, " Whatsoever he saith unto you, do 
it." Philip had four daughters who did prophesy. Try- 
phena and Tryphosa were co-workers with the apostles in 
their mission, to whom they sent special messages of regard 
and acknowledgment of their labors in the gospel. A 
learned Jew, mighty in the Scriptures, was by Priscilla in- 
structed in the way of the Lord more perfectly. Phebe is 
mentioned as a servant of Christ, and commended as such 
to the brethren. It is worthy of note that the word servant, 
when applied to Tychicus, is rendered minister. Women 
professing godliness, should be translated preaching. 

The first announcement, on the day of Pentecost was 
the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, that God's spirit should 
be poured out upon daughters as well as sons, and they 
should prophesy. It is important that we be familiar with 
these facts, because woman has been so long circumscribed 
in her influence by the perverted application of the text, 
rendering it improper for her to speak in the assemblies 
of the people, " to edification, to exhortation, and to com- 

If these Scriptures were read intelligently, we should not 



so learn Christ, as to exclude any from a position where 
they might exert an influence for good to their fellow-be- 
ings. The epistle to the Corinthian church, where the 
supposed apostolic prohibition of woman's preaching is 
found, contains express directions how woman shall ap- 
pear when she prayeth or prophesieth. Judge then whether 
this admonition relative to speaking and asking questions, 
in the excited state of that church, should be regarded as a 
standing injunction on woman's preaching, when that word 
was not used by the apostle. Where is the Scripture au- 
thority for the advice given to the early church, under 
peculiar circumstances, being binding on the church of the 
present day ? Ecclesiastical history informs us, that for 
two or three hundred years, female ministers suffered mar- 
tyrdom, in company with their brethren. 

These things are too much lost sight of. They should be 
known, in order that we may be prepared to meet the asser- 
tion, so often made, that woman is stepping out of her ap- 
propriate sphere when she shall attempt to instruct public 
assemblies. The present time particularly demands such 
investigation. It requires also, that " of yourselves ye 
should judge what is right," that you should know the 
ground whereon you stand. This age is notable for its 
works of mercy and benevolence — for the efforts that are 
made to reform the inebriate and the degraded, to relieve 
the oppressed and suffering. Women as well as men are 
interested in these works of justice and mercy. They are 
efficient co-workers, their talents are called into profitable 
exercise, their labors are effective in each department of 
reform. The blessing to the merciful, to the peacemaker, 
is equal to man and to woman. It is greatly to be deplored, 
now that she is increasingly qualified for usefulness, that 
any view should be presented calculated to retard her la- 
bors of love. 

Why should not woman seek to be a reformer ? If she 
is to shrink from being such an iconoclast as shall " break 



the image of man's lower worship," as so long held up to 
view ; if she is to fear to exercise her reason and her no- 
blest powers, lest she should be thought to " attempt to act 
the man," and not " acknowledge his supremacy ; " if she 
is to be satisfied with the narrow sphere assigned her by 
man, nor aspire to a higher, lest she should transcend the 
bounds of female delicacy, truly it is a mournful prospect 
for woman. We would admit all the difference that our 
great and beneficent Creator has made, in the relation of 
man and woman, nor would we seek to disturb this rela- 
tion ; but we deny that the present position of woman is 
her true sphere of usefulness ; nor will she attain to this 
sphere, until the disabilities and disadvantages, religious, 
civil, and social, which impede her progress, are removed 
out of her way. These restrictions have enervated her 
mind and paralyzed her powers. While man assumes that 
the present is the original state designed for woman, that 
the existing " differences are not arbitrary nor the re- 
sult of accident," but grounded in nature, she will not 
make the necessary effort to obtain her just rights, lest it 
should subject her to the kind of scorn and contemptuous 
manner in which she has been spoken of. 

So far from her " ambition leading her to attempt to act 
the man," she needs all the encouragement she can receive, 
by the removal of obstacles from her path, in order that she 
may become a " true woman." As it is desirable that man 
should act a manly and generous part, not " mannish," so 
let woman be urged to exercise a dignified and womanly 
bearing, not womanish. Let her cultivate all the graces 
and proper accomplishments of her sex, but let not these de- 
generate into a kind of effeminacy, in which she is satisfied 
to be the mere plaything or toy of society, content with her 
outward adornings, and with the tone of flattery and fulsome 
adulation too often addressed to her. True, nature has 
made a difference in her configuration, her physical strength, 
her voice, — and we ask no change, we are satisfied with 



nature. But how has neglect and mismanagement in- 
creased this difference ! It is our duty to develop these 
natural powers by suitable exercise, so that they may be 
strengthened " by reason of use." In the ruder state of 
society, woman is made to bear heavy burdens, while her 
" lord and master " walks idly by her side. In the civiliza- 
tion to which we have attained, if cultivated and refined 
woman would bring all her powers into use, she might en- 
gage in pursuits which she now shrinks from as beneath her 
proper vocation. The energies of men need not then be 
wholly devoted to the counting-house and common business 
of life, in order that women in fashionable society may be 
supported in their daily promenades and nightly visits to 
the theatre and ball-room. 

The appeal of Catharine Beecher to woman, some years 
ago, urging her to aim at higher pursuits, was greatly en- 
couraging. It gave earnest of an improved condition of 
woman. She says, " The time is coming when woman 
will be taught to understand the construction of the human 
frame, the philosophical results from restricted exercise, un- 
healthy modes of dress, improper diet, and other causes, 
which are continually operating to destroy the health and 
life of the young. . . . Woman has been but little aware 
of the high incitements which should stimulate to the cul- 
tivation of her noblest powers. The world is no longer to 
be governed by physical force, but by the influence which 
mind exerts over mind. . . . Woman has never wakened 
to her highest destinies and holiest hopes. The time is 
coming when educated females will not be satisfied with 
the present objects of their low ambition. When a woman 
now leaves the immediate business of her own education, 
how often, how generally do we find her sinking down into 
almost useless inactivity. To enjoy the social circle, to ac- 
complish a little sewing, a little reading, a little domestic 
duty, to while away her hours in self-indulgence, or to en- 
joy the pleasures of domestic life, — these are the highest 



objects at which many a woman of elevated mind and ac- 
complished education aims. And what does she find of 
sufficient interest to call forth her cultivated energies and 
warm affection ? But when the cultivation and develop- 
ment of the immortal mind shall be presented to woman, 
as her especial and delightful duty, and that too whatever 
be her relations in life ; when, by example and experience, 
she shall have learned her power over the intellect and the 
affections, . . . then we shall not find woman returning 
from the precincts of learning and wisdom to pass lightly 
away the bright hours of her maturing youth. We shall 
not so often see her seeking the light device to embroider 
on muslin and lace (and I would add, the fashionable 
crochet work of the present day) ; but we shall see her, 
with the delighted glow of benevolence, seeking for im- 
mortal minds whereon she may fasten durable and holy im- 
pressions that shall never be effaced or wear away." 

A new generation of women is now upon the stage, im- 
proving the increased opportunities furnished for the ac- 
quirement of knowledge. Public education is coming to 
be regarded the right of the children of a republic. The 
hill of science is not so difficult of ascent as formerly rep- 
resented by poets and painters ; but by fact and demon- 
stration smoothed clown, so as to be accessible to the as- 
sumed weak capacity of woman. She is rising in the scale 
of being through this, as well as other means, and finding 
heightened pleasure and profit on the right hand and on 
the left. The study of Physiology, now introduced into 
our common schools, is engaging her attention, impressing 
the necessity of the observance of the laws of health. 
The intellectual Lyceum and instructive lecture-room are 
becoming to many more attractive than the theatre and 
the ball-room. The sickly and sentimental novel and per- 
nicious romance are giving place to writings calculated to 
call forth the benevolent affections and higher nature. It 
is only by comparison that I would speak commendatorily 



of these works of imagination. The frequent issue of 
them from the press is to be regretted. Their exciting 
contents, like stimulating drinks, when long indulged in, 
enervate the mind, unfitting it for the sober duties of life. 

These duties are not to be limited by man. Nor will 
woman fulfil less her domestic relations, as the faithful 
companion of her chosen husband and the fitting mother 
of her children, because she has a right estimate of her 
position and her responsibilities. Her self-respect will be 
increased ; preserving the dignity of her being, she will 
not suffer herself to be degraded into a mere dependent. 
Nor will her feminine character be impaired. Instances 
are not few, of woman throwing off the incumbrances 
which bind her, and going forth in a manner worthy of 
herself, her creation, and her dignified calling. Did Eliz- 
abeth Fry lose any of her feminine qualities by the public 
walk into which she was called? Having performed the 
duties of a mother to a large family, feeling that she owed 
a labor of love to the poor prisoner, she was empowered 
by Him who sent her forth, to go to kings and crowned 
heads of the earth, and ask audience of these , and it was 
granted her. Did she lose the delicacy of woman by her 
acts ? No. Her retiring modesty was characteristic of her 
to the latest period of her life. It was my privilege to 
enjoy her society some years ago, and I found all that 
belonged to the feminine in woman — to true nobility, in a 
refined and purified moral nature. Is Dorothea Dix throw- 
ing off her womanly nature and appearance in the course 
she is pursuing? In finding duties abroad, has any "re- 
fined man felt that something of beauty has gone forth 
from her ? " To use the contemptuous word applied in the 
lecture alluded to, is she becoming "mannish? " Is she 
compromising her womanly dignity in going forth to seek 
to better the condition of the insane and afflicted? Is not 
a beautiful mind and a retiring modesty still conspicuous 
in her ? 



Indeed, I would ask, if this modesty is not attractive 
also, when manifested in the other sex ? It was strikingly 
marked in Horace Mann, when presiding over the late Na- 
tional Educational Convention in this city. The retiring 
modesty of William Ellery Channing was beautiful, as well 
as of many others, who have filled elevated stations in so- 
ciety. These virtues, differing as they may in degree in 
man and woman, are of the same nature, and call forth 
our admiration wherever manifested. 

The noble courage of Grace Darling is justly honored, 
leading her to present herself on the coast of England, 
during the raging storm, in order to rescue the poor, suffer- 
ing, shipwrecked mariner. Woman was not wanting in 
courage in the early ages. In war and bloodshed this trait 
was often displayed. Grecian and Roman history have 
lauded and honored her in this character. English history 
records her courageous women too, for unhappily we have 
little but the records of war handed down to us. The 
courage of Joan of Arc was made the subject of a popular 
lecture not long ago, by one of our intelligent citizens. 
But more noble moral daring is marking the female char- 
acter at the present time, and better worthy of imitation. 
As these characteristics come to be appreciated in man too, 
his warlike acts, with all the miseries and horrors of the 
battle-ground, will sink into their merited oblivion, or be 
remembered only to be condemned. The heroism displayed 
in the tented field must yield to the moral and Christian 
heroism which is shadowed in the signs of our times. 

The lecturer regarded the announcement of woman's 
achievements, and the offering of appropriate praise through 
the press, as a gross innovation upon the obscurity of fe- 
male life — he complained that the exhibition of attain- 
ments of girls in schools was now equal to that of the boys, 
and the newspapers announce that " Miss Brown received 
the first prize for English grammar," etc. If he objected 
to so much excitement of emulation in schools, it would be 



well ; for the most enlightened teachers discountenance 
these appeals to love of approbation and self - esteem. 
While prizes continue to be awarded, can any good reason 
be given why the name of the girl should not be published 
as well as that of the boy? He spoke with scorn, that 
" we hear of Mrs. President so and so ; and committees 
and secretaries of the same sex." But if women can con- 
duct their own business, by means of presidents and secre- 
taries of their own sex, can he tell us why they should not ? 
They will never make much progress in any moral move- 
ment while they depend upon men to act for them. Do 
we shrink from reading the announcement that Mrs. Som- 
erville is made an honorary member of a scientific associa- 
tion ? That Miss Herschel has made some discoveries, and 
is prepared to take her equal part in science ? Or that 
Miss Mitchell, of Nantucket, has lately discovered a planet 
long looked for ? I cannot conceive why " honor to whom 
honor is due" should not be rendered to woman as well as 
man ; nor will it necessarily exalt her, or foster feminine 
pride. This propensity is found alike in male and female, 
and it should not be ministered to improperly in either 

In treating upon the affections, the lecturer held out the 
idea that, as manifested in the sexes, they were opposite, 
if not somewhat antagonistic, and required a union, as in 
chemistry, to form a perfect whole. The simile appeared 
to me far from a correct illustration of the true union. 
Minds that can assimilate, spirits that are congenial, attract 
one another. It is the union of similar, not of opposite 
affections, which are necessary for the perfection of the 
marriage bond. There seemed a want of proper delicacy 
in his representing man as being bold in the demonstration 
of the pure affection of love. In persons of refinement, 
true love seeks concealment in man as well as in woman. 
I will not enlarge upon the subject, although it formed so 
great a part of his lecture. The contrast drawn seemed a 




fallacy, as has much, very much, that has been presented 
in the sickly sentimental strains of the poet, from age to 

The question is often asked, " What does woman want 
more than she enjoys? What is she seeking to obtain? 
Of what rights is she deprived ? What privileges are 
withheld from her ? " I answer, she asks nothing as favor, 
but as right ; she wants to be acknowledged a moral, re- 
sponsible being. She is seeking not to be governed by 
laws, in the making of which she has no voice. She is de- 
prived of almost every right in civil society, and is a cipher 
in the nation, except in the right of presenting a petition. 
In religious society her disabilities, as already pointed out, 
have greatly retarded her progress. Her exclusion from 
the pulpit or ministry — her duties marked out for her by 
her equal brother man, subject to creeds, rules, and disci- 
plines made for her by him — this is unworthy her true 
dignity. In marriage there is assumed superiority, on the 
part of the husband, and admitted inferiority, with a prom- 
ise of obedience, on the part of the wife. This subject 
calls loudly for examination, in order that the wrong may 
be redressed. Customs suited to darker ages in eastern 
countries are not binding upon enlightened society. The 
solemn covenant of marriage may be entered into without 
these lordly assumptions and humiliating concessions and 

There are large Christian denominations who do not 
recognize such degrading relations of husband and wife. 
They ask no aid from magistrate or clergyman to legalize 
or sanctify this union. But acknowledging themselves in 
the presence of the Highest, and invoking His assistance, 
they come under reciprocal obligations of fidelity and af- 
fection, before suitable witnesses. Experience and obser- 
vation go to prove, that there may be as much harmony, 
to say the least, in such a union, and as great purity and 
permanence of affection, as can exist where the common 
ceremony is observed. 



The distinctive relations of husband and wife, of father 
and mother of a family, are sacredly preserved, without the 
assumption of authority on the one part, or the promise of 
obedience on the other. There is nothing in such a mar- 
riage degrading to woman. She does not compromise her 
dignity or self-respect ; but enters married life upon equal 
ground, by the side of her husband. By proper education, 
she understands her duties, physical, intellectual, aud moral; 
and fulfilling these, she is a helpmeet in the true sense of 
the word. 

I tread upon delicate ground in alluding to the institu- 
tions of religious associations ; but the subject is of so much 
importance that all which relates to the position of woman 
should be examined, apart from the undue veneration 
which ancient usage receives. 

" Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone 
To reverence what is ancient, and can plead 
A course of long observance for its use, 
That even servitude, the worst of ills, 
Because delivered down from sire to son, 
Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing." 

So with woman. She has so long been subject to the 
disabilities and restrictions with which her progress has 
been embarrassed, that she has become enervated, her 
mind to some extent paralyzed ; and like those still more 
degraded by personal bondage, she hugs her chains. Lib- 
erty is often presented in its true light, but it is liberty for 
man, and it is not less a blessing, because oppression has 
so long darkened the mind that it cannot appreciate it. I 
would, therefore, urge that woman be placed in such a 
situation in society, by the recognition of her rights, and 
have such opportunities for growth and development, as 
shall raise her from this low, enervated, and paralyzed con- 
dition, to a full appreciation of the blessing of entire free- 
dom of mind. 

It is with reluctance that I make the demand for the 



political rights of women, because this claim is so distaste- 
ful to the age. Woman shrinks, in the present state of so- 
ciety, from taking any interest in politics. The events of 
the French Revolution and the claim for woman's rights 
are held up to her as a warning. But let us not look at 
the excesses of women alone at that period ; but remember 
that the age was marked with extravagances and wicked- 
ness in men as well as women. Indeed, political life 
abounds with these excesses, and with shameful outrage. 
Who knows, but that if woman acted her part in govern- 
mental affairs, there might be an entire change in the tur- 
moil of political life. It becomes man to speak modestly 
of his ability to act without her. If woman's judgment 
were exercised, why might she not aid in making the laws 
by which she is governed ? Lord Brougham remarked that 
the works of Harriet Martineau upon Political Economy 
were not excelled by those of any political writer of the 
present time. The first few chapters of her " Society in 
America," her views of a republic, and of government 
generally, furnish evidence of woman's capacity to embrace 
subjects of universal interest. 

Far be it from me to encourage women to vote, or to 
take an active part in politics in the present state of our 
government. Her right to the elective franchise, however, 
is the same, and should be yielded to her, whether she 
exercise that right or not. Would that man, too, would 
have no participation in a government recognizing the life- 
taking principle — retaliation and the sword. It is un- 
worthy a Christian nation. But when, in the diffusion of 
light and intelligence, a convention shall be called to make 
regulations for self-government on Christian principles, I 
can see no good reason why women should not participate 
in such an assemblage, taking part equally with man. 

Professor Walker, of Cincinnati, in his "Introduction to 
American Law," says : " With regard to political rights, 
females form a positive exception to the general doctrine 



of equality. They have no part or lot in the formation or 
administration of government. They cannot vote or hold 
office. We require them to contribute their share, in the 
way of taxes, to the support of government, but allow 
them no voice in its direction. We hold them amenable 
to the laws when made, but allow them no share in mak- 
ing them. This language, applied to males, would be the 
exact definition of political slavery ; applied to females, 
custom does not teach us so to regard it." Woman, how- 
ever, is beginning so to regard it. 

He further says : " The law of husband and wife, as you 
gather it from the books, is a disgrace to any civilized na- 
tion. The theory of the law degrades the wife almost to 
the level of slaves. When a woman marries, we call her 
condition coverture, and speak of her as a femme couverte. 
The old writers call the husband baron, and sometimes, in 
plain English, lord. . . . The merging of her name in that 
of her husband is emblematic of the fate of all her legal 
rights. The torch of Hymen serves but to light the pile 
on which these rights are offered up. The legal theory is, 
that marriage makes the husband and wife one person, and 
that person is the husband. On this subject, reform is 
loudly called for. There is no foundation in reason or ex- 
pediency for the absolute and slavish subjection of the wife 
to the husband, which forms the foundation of the present 
legal relations. Were woman, in point of fact, the abject 
thing which the law, in theory, considers her to be when 
married, she would not be worthy the companionship of 

I would ask if such a code of laws does not require 
change ? If such a condition of the wife in society does not 
claim redress ? On no good ground can reform be delayed. 
Blackstone says : " The very being and legal existence of 
woman is suspended during marriage — incorporated or 
consolidated into that of her husband, under whose protec- 
tion and cover she performs everything." Ilurlbut, in his 



Essaj^s upon Human Rights, says : " The laws touching 
the rights of woman are at variance with the laws of the 
Creator. Rights are human rights, and pertain to human 
beings, without distinction of sex. Laws should not be 
made for man or for woman, but for mankind. Man was 
not born to command, nor woman to obey. . . . The law 
of France, Spain, and Holland, and one of our own States, 
Louisiana, recognizes the wife's right to property, more 
than the common law of England. . . . The law depriv- 
ing woman of the right of property is handed down to us 
from dark and feudal times, and is not consistent with the 
wiser, better, purer spirit of the age. The wife is a mere 
pensioner on the bounty of her husband. Her lost rights 
are appropriated to himself. But justice and benevolence 
are abroad in our land, awakening the spirit of inquiry and 
innovation ; and the Gothic fabric of the British law will 
fall before it, save where it is based upon the foundation of 
truth and justice." 

May these statements lead you to reflect upon this sub- 
ject, that you may know what woman's condition is in soci- 
ety — what her restrictions are, and seek to remove them. 
In how many cases in our country the husband and wife 
begin life together, and by equal industry and united effort 
accumulate to themselves a comfortable home. In the 
event of the death of the wife, the household remains un- 
disturbed, his farm or his workshop is not broken up, or in 
any way molested. But when the husband dies, he either 
gives his wife a portion of their joint accumulation, or the 
law apportions to her a share ; the homestead is broken 
up, and she is dispossessed of that which she earned equally 
with him ; for what she lacked in physical strength, she 
made up in constancy of labor and toil, day and evening. 
The sons then coming into possession of the property, as 
has been the custom until of latter time, speak of having 
to keep their mother, when she in reality is aiding to keep 
them. Where is the justice of this state of things? The 



change in the law of this State and of New York, in rela- 
tiou to the property of the wife, goes to a limited extent 
toward the redress of these wrongs, which are far more ex- 
tensive, and involve much more than I have time this even- 
ing to point out. 

On no good ground can the legal existence of the wife 
be suspended during marriage, and her property surren- 
dered to her husband. In the intelligent ranks of society, 
the wife may not, in point of fact, be so degraded as the 
law would degrade her ; because public sentiment is above 
the law. Still, while the law stands, she is liable to the 
disabilities which it composes. Among the ignorant classes 
of society, woman is made to bear heavy burdens, and is 
degraded almost to the level of the slave. 

There are many instances now in our city, where the 
wife suffers much from the power of the husband to claim 
all that she can earn with her own hands. In my inter- 
course with the poorer class of people, I have known cases 
of extreme cruelty, from the hard earnings of the wife be- 
ing thus robbed by the husband, and no redress at law. 

An article in one of the daily papers lately presented 
the condition of needle-women in England. There might 
be a presentation of this class in our own country which 
would make the heart bleed. Public attention should be 
turned to this subject, in order that avenues of more profit- 
able employment may be opened to women. There are 
many kinds of business which women, equally with men, 
may follow with respectability and success. Their talents 
and energies should be called forth, and their powers 
brought into the highest exercise. The efforts of women 
in France are sometimes pointed to in ridicule and sarcasm, 
but depend upon it, the opening of profitable employment 
to women in that country is doing much for the enfran- 
chisement of the sex. In England and America it is not 
an uncommon thing for a wife to take up the business of 
her deceased husband and carry it on with success. 



Our respected British Consul stated to me a circum- 
stance which occurred some years ago, of an editor of a 
political paper having died in England ; it was proposed to 
his wife, an able writer, to take the editorial chair. She 
accepted. The patronage of the paper was greatly in- 
creased, and she a short time since retired from her labors 
with a handsome fortune. In that country, however, the op- 
portunities are by no means general for woman's elevation. 

In visiting the public schools in London, a few years 
since, I noticed that the boys were employed in linear 
drawing, and instructed upon the blackboard in the higher 
branches of arithmetic and mathematics ; while the girls, 
after a short exercise in the mere elements of arithmetic, 
were seated, during the bright hours of the morning, stitch- 
ing wristbands. I asked why there should be this differ- 
ence made ; why they too should not have the blackboard ? 
The answer was, that they would not probably fill any sta- 
tion in society requiring such knowledge. 

The demand for a more extended education will not cease 
until boys and girls have equal instruction, in all the de- 
partments of useful knowledge. We have as yet no high 
school in this state. The normal school may be a prepara- 
tion for such an establishment. In the late convention for 
general education, it was cheering to hear the testimony 
borne to woman's capabilities for head teachers of the pub- 
lic schools. A resolution there offered for equal salaries 
to male and female teachers, when equally qualified, as 
practiced in Louisiana, I regret to say was checked in its 
passage by Bishop Potter ; by him who has done so much 
for the encouragement of education, and who gave his coun- 
tenance and influence to that convention. Still, the fact that 
such a resolution was offered, augurs a time coming for 
woman which she may well hail. At the last examination 
of the public schools in this city, one of the alumni de- 
livered an address on Woman, not, as is too common, in 
eulogistic strains, but directing the attention to the injus- 



tice done to woman in her position in society, in a variety 
of ways — the unequal wages she receives for her constant 
toil, etc. — presenting facts calculated to arouse attention 
to the subject. 

Women's property has been taxed, equally with that of 
men, to sustain colleges endowed by the States ; but they 
have not been permitted to enter those high seminaries of 
learning. Within a few years, however, some colleges have 
been instituted where young women are admitted, upon 
nearly equal terms with young men ; and numbers are 
availing themselves of their long denied rights. This is 
among the signs of the times, indicative of an advance for 
women. The book of knowledge is not opened to her in 
vain. Already is she aiming to occupy important posts of 
honor and profit in our country. We have three female 
editors in our State, and some in other States of the Union. 
Numbers are entering the medical profession — one received 
a diploma last year ; others are preparing for a like result. 

Let woman then go on — not asking favors, but claiming 
as a right the removal of all hindrances to her elevation 
in the scale of being — let her receive encouragement for 
the proper cultivation of all her powers, so that she may 
enter profitably into the active business of life ; employing 
her own hands in ministering to her necessities, strength- 
ening her physical being by proper exercise and observ- 
ance of the laws of health. Let her not be ambitious to 
display a fair hand, and to promenade the fashionable 
streets of our city, but rather, coveting earnestly the best 
gifts, let her strive to occupy such walks in society as will 
befit her true dignity in all the relations of life. No fear 
that she will then transcend the proper limits of female 
delicacy. True modesty will be as fully preserved, in act- 
ing out those important vocations, as in the nursery or at 
the fireside ministering to man's self-indulgence. Then in 
the marriage union, the independence of the husband and 
wife will be equal, their dependence mutual, and their obli- 
gations reciprocal. 



In conclusion, let me say, " Credit not the old-fashioned 
absurdity, that woman's is a secondary lot, ministering to 
the necessities of her lord and master ! It is a higher des- 
tiny I would award you. If your immortality is as com- 
plete, and your gift of mind as capable as ours of increase 
and elevation, I would put no wisdom of mine against 
God's evident allotment. I would charge you to water the 
undying bad, and give it healthy culture, and open its 
beauty to the sun — and then you may hope that, when 
your life is bound up with another, you will go on equally, 
and in a fellowship that shall pervade every earthly in- 

[The following sermons, as will be seen from their dates, were deliv- 
ered at different times and places, and have no connection with each 
other. The speaker did not know that they were being reported, and 
never revised them. It is hardly necessary to say that they were extem- 


Delivered at Yardleyville, Bucks Co., Pa., Ninth Mo. 26th, 1858. 

" The kingdom of God is within us, and Christianity 
will not have performed its office in the earth until its pro- 
fessors have learned to respect the rights and privileges of 
conscience, by a toleration without limit, a faith without 
contention." This is the testimony of one of the modern 
writers. And have we not evidence, both from our own 
religious records, and those of all the worshipers of all 
ages, that there has been this divine teaching acknowledged, 
in some way or another — that there is a religious instinct 
in the constitution of man, and that, according to the cir- 
cumstances of his birth, of his education, of his exercise 
of his free agency, this religious essence has grown, and 
brought forth similar fruits, in every age of the world, 
among all peoples ? This has been likened, by various fig- 
ures, emblems, parables, to things without us and around 
us. It has been variously interpreted, variously explained ; 



for no nation has a spiritual language, exclusively such. 
We must therefore speak of our spiritual experiences in 
language having reference to spiritual things. And we 
find this has been the case, especially in the records of the 
Jews, the Scriptures of Israel, and what are called " Chris- 
tian Scriptures." They abound in emblems and parables. 

This divine illumination is called " the spirit." It is said 
that " God breathed into man, life," a spirit, his " own im- 
age," which is spiritual, and he became a living soul. The 
after writers acknowledge this diviue spirit — " Thou gav- 
est also thy good spirit to instruct us." 

An idea has prevailed that the immortality of this spirit 
was not understood till about eighteen hundred years ago ; 
but if we read the old Scriptures intelligently, we shall 
find the acknowledgment of its eternity, as well as its di- 
vine nature. " Then shall the dust return to the earth as 
it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it." 
And these same writers, even though they were very much 
clouded, and the clearness of their views obscured by tra- 
ditions, so that, when Jesus came among them, he said, 
" they made the word of God of none effect by their tradi- 
tions ; " yet, the far-seeing among them acknowledged that 
these obscurities must pass away, and that the time should 
come when the divine light should be more clearly under- 
stood, " when thou shalt hear a voice behind thee saying, 
This is the way, walk ye in it." And it is spoken of some- 
times as the " still small voice." It is spoken of again as a 
new covenant that should be made : " I will write my law 
in their hearts," the law of justice, mercy, forgiveness, that 
they should have no more need of the old proverb, " The 
fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are 
set on edge." " But if a man be just, and do that which is 
lawful and right," " in his righteousness that he hath done 
he shall live." On the other hand, " when the righteous 
turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth in- 
iquity, in the wickedness that he doeth shall he die." 



So we see that the teachings of this divine spirit have 
been the same in all ages. It has led to truth, to goodness, 
to justice, to love. Love was as much held up among 
these old writers, these old religious teachers, and as clearly 
set forth, as in the later days. Their testimony fell upon 
ears that heard not, upon eyes that saw not, because they 
had closed their eyes, shut their ears, and hardened their 
hearts. They had substituted something else for this di- 
vine light ; this word, which, in a still earlier day, Moses 
declared to his people was " nigh unto them, in the mouth, 
and in the heart." The truths of inspiration are the way 
of life, and he that walketh in the right shall grow stronger 
and stronger. These were the teachings of the light — to 
walk uprightly; to act righteously; to be just; to be faith- 
ful. " With the merciful, thou wilt show thyself merciful ; 
with an upright man, thou wilt show thyself upright ; with 
the pure, thou wilt show thyself pure." Believe not, then, 
that all these great principles were only known in the day 
of the advent of the Messiah to the Jews — these beautiful 
effects of doing right. 

We should come to understand the divinity of this spirit, 
and its teachings to us now. I believe there is a growing 
understanding of it. It has been likened unto leaven, 
which was hid in the meal, " till the whole was leavened ; " 
and also to the little seed that was sowed in the field, which 
became " the greatest among herbs." The word of God is 
life-giving, fruitful ; and as it is received, it produces its 
own generation, sometimes called re-generation. Another 
beautiful figure is sometimes employed, the change in the 
physical being. We have first the little child ; then the 
young man ; then the strong man in the Lord. All these 
things we must read and accept intelligently, rationally. 
Too long has the religious element been upheld to the ven- 
eration of man through some mystery whereby he could 
understand the growth of his own divine nature. Why, it 
needs no miracles. They belong to darker times than ours. 



It is when we are wide awake, and capable of reading, re- 
flecting, and receiving this ingrafted word, that we come to 
know the anointing that teacheth all things. And we shall 
not need that any man teach us. We shall come away 
from these false dependencies. We shall come to the 
source — the immediate access which we have to the 
source of all truth, to the source of all good. I know this 
is merely regarded as the Quaker doctrine, the ignis fatuns 
of the Quakers, and it is everywhere spoken against. We 
know how it was treated in the early days of the Quakers. 
We know how the Son of God was received when he 
preached ; and it was because his teachings led him to non- 
conformity with the rituals of the day, that he was led to 
bear his testimony against the doctrines of the Scribes and 
Pharisees of his time. 

All ecclesiastical history goes to assure us, that when 
there has been a sectarian standard raised, and a mere ver- 
bal theology and ceremonial performance instituted, good 
works have invariably been lowered. AVe all know how 
bitter the sectarian spirit has become — how hatred and 
antipathy have grown up among the people, and among 
people making the highest profession of the name of Jesus, 
who become horrified, shocked, if any shall deny what they 
are pleased to consider his divinity ; and yet, if any speak 
of the fruits of obedience to the law of justice and of good- 
ness in the soul, they brand it as mere morality, mere 
human benevolence, and not the religion by which salva- 
tion is wrought. This is the tendency of sects, and it need- 
eth a prophet to come forth declaring your circumcisions, 
your false lights, to be of no avail. This has been the uni- 
form condition of acceptance, the working of righteousness, 
— doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly before 
God, — and not in oblations and sacrifices. 

And so, down to the present time, we see the same ten- 
dency and the same results. We need prophets among us, 
bold non-conformists, to come forth and say, " Verily, your 



baptisms are not the right tests ; your communions are not 
the proper evidence of your intimate union with the Fa- 
ther and with the Son. What are your Sabbath-day ob- 
servances but conventional rites ? Verily, your silent meet- 
ings, your plain attire, your peculiar language, — are they 
the rightful tests of your sound faith, your pure worship ? 
No more than those of any other denomination. We may 
take every denomination, and where we find them setting 
up their forms as an evidence of worship above the pure acts 
of devotion to God, manifested by love to the people, — to 
the common children of God, the world over, — wherever 
this is to be found, there is need of the right testimony to 
be borne ; there is need that we should say, he is not a 
true Christian who is one outwardly. We need higher 
evidences, therefore, than now exist. Christianity will not 
have performed its work in the earth, until its followers 
have learned to respect the rights and privileges of con- 
science, by a toleration without limit, a faith without con- 

What have we to do with granting to another a point, a 
belief, a doctrine ? It is assumption. It leads to despot- 
ism. It has led to crucifixion ; and it leads in the same di- 
rection now, as far as the customs of the times will admit. 
The name is cast out now, just as much as ever. And why 
is it ? Because there is a verbal creed set up. Because 
there are doctrines fixed upon as being the essential re- 
quirements of believers. They assume that the Scriptures 
are the word of God, instead of taking them and ascertain- 
ing the uniform testimonies to righteousness and truth, as 
found in the various pages, and discriminating between 
these and the practices of those ancients, many of whom 
were semi-civilized, many of whom regarded their God as 
the God of war. The Scriptures should be read intelli- 
gently, so that we should not be going back to the example 
of those ancients as our authority for the present day. 
They do not justify that. I would not shock the religious 



feelings of any, but I would ask them to read their Scrip- 
tures again, and see if they can find any authority for sus- 
taining their actions, and especially such as have done in- 
jury to their fellow-beings and themselves. Especially are 
they appealed to for sanctioning the use of wines and 
strong drinks, as our authority for the far-extending influ- 
ence of these for evil among the children of men. So has 
it been the practice to cite the example of olden times in 
approval of the abomination of American slavery, as being 
a patriarchal institution. It is time that we should no 
longer err. We do err, not knowing the Scriptures or the 
power of God, when we resort to this Bible to find author- 
ity for anything that is wrong. We have a divine teaching 
to which we should adhere. The great principles of jus- 
tice, love, and truth are divinely implanted in the hearts of 
men. If we pay proper heed unto these, we shall have no 
occasion to go to the ancient practices to find authority for 
our actions in the present day. 

We cannot help our opinions in these matters ; this is 
impossible. They grow up with us, and depend on circum- 
stances, on our education and immediate influences. We 
are justified in our skepticisms. It is our religious duty to 
be skeptical of the plans of salvation. The veneration of 
believers has been strengthened by their not being allowed 
to think. They have been afraid to exercise the test of 
enlightened reason which God has given them, lest they 
should be called infidels — should be branded with infidel- 
ity. It is time the theology of the day had passed away. 
And it has, to a great extent. It is modified. As an in- 
stance, we might refer to the New School Presbyterians, 
arraying themselves against the old Calvinistic doctrines. 
Others might be enumerated. The people now are ceasing 
to believe what their verbal creed teaches them. If there 
was a freedom and independence among them, such as the 
truth would give, they would be less trammeled. " If the 
truth shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." How 



few are made free by the truth ! They are hampered by 
their undue adherence to the gloomy appendages of the 
church. I would not set a high opinion on the Catholic 
Church, the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, Quaker, 
or any other. They all have their elements of goodness, 
and they all have their elements of bondage ; and if we 
yield obedience to them, we become subject to them, and 
are brought under bondage. If we acknowledge this truth, 
and bow to it, we shall dare to show our dissent. We will 
let them alone, treating them with a toleration without limit, 
a faith without contention, with regard to their opinions. 

The doctrines of Christianity are perverted in order to 
sustain the doctrine of total depravity. We take not to 
ourselves that which belongs to ourselves. The proper 
sense of the divine nature of man, in all its relations, first 
the animal, next the intellectual, and then the spiritual, is 
not properly understood. This is a beautiful trinity in the 
human being. We shall find " the glory of the natural to 
be one, and the glory of the spiritual, another." While the 
general faith of Christians is to denounce the animal, and 
to build up a kind of new birth on this degradation, we err 
in not acknowledging the divinity of all man's instincts as 
we ought ; and hence it is I deem it necessary to speak 
forth, and be branded with heresy. And believing this, 
and asserting it before the people, I cannot feel that I am 
advocating a mere Quaker dogma. In this latter day, we 
find it is regarded more and more by every sect, and also 
by those who attach themselves to no religious denomi- 

When we appeal to the teachings of the divine spirit, 
we find it to exist in every human breast. This is the re- 
vealed religion, and it is time that it was claimed as such. 
It is time that that which is regarded as mere morality 
should be preached as the everlasting, divine truth of 
God ; and when it shines in the hearts and minds of the 
children of men, and they come to receive it, they will be- 



hold its glory, and it will be the glory of the only spirit- 
ually begotten of the Father, dwelling in them as full of 
grace and of truth. They overlook it because of its sim- 

There is an acknowledgment of the regenerating power 
of the eternal, so far as we may call it regeneration, by ap- 
plication to natural things, without basing it on the assump- 
tion that the first birth is evil. Jesus said, " Except a man 
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." But 
he spoke to those dark Jews, who did, no doubt, need to 
be born again, to die out of their old forms and ceremo- 
nies. Well did he answer Nicoclemus, who thought this 
such a miracle, " That which is born of the flesh is flesh ; 
and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not 
that I said unto thee, ye must be born again." 

We may all admit, that if we receive the divine spirit in 
its operations in our soul, there will be no mistake ; it will 
be found a reprover of evil ; and if we obey it, it will be 
regenerating in its nature. It will make us understand 
that which is spiritual, and discriminate between that which 
is spiritual and that which is natural, without underrating 
the natural. If we suffer the propensities to have the mas- 
tery over us, we must reap the consequences. Look at slav- 
ery in our country ; look at war. Whence come wars ? 
" Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your 
members ? " If we attempt to govern ourselves and our 
feelings by these low principles, they, of course, will lead 
to evil, to wrong, to wickedness. The apostle says, " The 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ; 
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis- 
cerned." The' natural man hath natural powers and abili- 
ties ; the intellectual man hath powers differing from these ; 
and the spiritual man knoweth not the propensities of the 

We are not to be regarded as denying the Scriptures, 
because we have not so read them, and so learned Chris- 



tianity, as have many of the authors of the theological 
opinions of the day. Men are too much wedded to these 
opinions. Women in particular have pinned their faith to 
ministers' sleeves. They dare not rely on their own God- 
given powers of discernment. It is time that ye had looked 
to these Scriptures, and studied them rationally for your- 
selves, rather than follow the teaching which interprets them 
in support of the wrong, instead of the right. Women in 
the earliest days associated with men in carrying forward 
the great principles of truth. A Deborah arose, and Hul- 
dah, a prophetess. It was a woman who announced to the 
people of Samaria the advent of Christ : " Come see a 
man which told me all things whatsoever I did." And 
this induced the men to go forth "out of the city, unto 
him." And they said unto the woman, now " we have 
heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the 
Christ." And the very first act on the day of Pentecost 
was to declare, that the time would come when the spirit 
should be poured out upon women. Phebe was a minis- 
ter of Christ. Priestcraft has rendered the word minister 
so as to apply only to man. 

People should judge more intelligently than to take the 
practices of former times, and make them a test for prac- 
tical Christianity of this day. " The kingdom of God is 
within us ; " the " word is nigh, in the heart, and in the 
mouth." If any are so faithless as still to need outward 
corroborative testimony, they will find it in all ages, and 
from the earliest times, as recorded in the Bible. And 
this is the value of the Scriptures among us. We have no 
right to go to them now to establish a creed or form. We 
cannot control our opinions ; we cannot believe as we will ; 
therefore belief is no virtue. We have not the power to 
control our being ; it is by the circumstances around us, by 
our power of receiving, that we come to see, and to know, 
and believe ; therefore we must mafce a different use of the 
Bible, in order to make it to us a book that is invaluable. 



Goodness has been goodness in all ages of the world, 
justice, justice, and uprightness, uprightness. "I will make 
all my goodness pass before thee." This was a beautiful 
answer to Moses. This is the way that God manifests 
himself to his children. It has been so in every age. It 
is emphatically the case in the present day, which is marked 
by the advances that have been made in this generation. 
It is this which should be held up as an evidence that 
Christianity is being better understood ; that the veneration 
of the people is being drawn away from undue observances 
of Sabbath days, of the worship of churches ; that they 
are coming to judge in themselves what is right, when they 
are disposed to do this. How plentifully are the testi- 
monies of the Scriptures found to be in favor of the right, 
in all ages ! 

The fast, then, that God has chosen, is easily recognized : 
" To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy 
burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break 
every yoke." Jesus did not say, Blessed is the believer in 
the trinity ; blessed is the believer in the popular scheme 
of salvation ; blessed the believer in a mysterious divinity 
attached to himself. He said nothing of the kind. He 
called them to judge of himself by his works : " If I do 
the right works, believe me, and the Father also, for I 
come from the Father." " Blessed," he said, " are the 
merciful ; blessed the pure in heart ; blessed the meek," -— 
not the " meek " that bow before sect. We must know a 
meekness that will make us "as bold as a lion," that we 
may proclaim righteousness, and reclaim this generation 
from its sins, and denounce this meekness before sect. 
Jesus declares this by his life of goodness, of active right- 
eousness, of pure morality, of sympathy for the poor. It 
is for the love of his principles that we should place him 
on the high pedestal given him by those who delight to 
worship him ceremonially. 

It is not strange that there should be atheism in the 



world, while such false ideas of God are inculcated in the 
minds of the people. We cannot in any way come to 
the worship of God, by any of these fancied attributes, 
without humanizing Him. Therefore, we must come to 
know Him by our merciful acts, our pure, our upright con- 
duct, our every-day righteousness, our goodness. We must 
come to be with Him by declaring " wo unto the transgres- 
sor." We must not make compromises with injustice. If 
the mission of Jesus was so emphatically to bring " peace 
on earth and good will to men," we must endeavor to carry 
it out, and not place it away in the distance, in the " mil- 
lennium." Why, the millennium is here ; the kingdom of 
God has come. This is what we should preach. Oh, that 
the fruits of this divine spirit should appear, which are 
love, peace, joy, goodness, truth ! the spirit that is first 
gentle, pure, full of mercy, full of good fruits. Here is no 
disparagement of good works. 

We forget the practical parts of the Bible, in our zeal 
for preaching up a religion that is to do nothing. And so 
we must let war go on " until the millennium comes." In 
the olden time, they knew that war was wrong, and hence 
the far-seeing proclaimed the day when " they shall beat 
their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into prun- 
ing hooks ; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
neither shall they learn war any more." They looked for- 
ward and prophetically proclaimed the day when the " King 
cometh, who is just, and having salvation." " And I will 
cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jeru- 
salem, and the battle-bow shall be cut off ; and he shall 
speak peace unto the heathen ; and his dominion shall be 
from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends 
of the earth." If we are believers in this, and believe in 
the Messiah that came with such a beautiful announcement, 
it is time that we should love the name of Christ ; should 
part with war, and leave nations to settle their disputes in 
some way that will put an end to the barbarism of war. 



It is abominable that we should retain it — that we should 
still have recourse to arms. 

But the efforts for the dominion of peace are greater 
now than ever before. The very first message transmitted 
to us across the Atlantic, by means of that mightiest in- 
strument wrought in our day, the offspring of the divine, 
intellectual intelligence of men, was a prophetic view of 
greater peace on earth. There is something so beautiful 
in this universal instinct of men for the right, that I am 
pained to know that people of intelligence, professing 
Christianity, should vouchsafe their assent to the duration 
of any of the relics of the dark ages. Let us do away 
with these things. We need the faith that works by love, 
and purifies the heart. And sorrowful is it that the hearts 
of men should be turned from the right by the temp- 
tations that so easily beset them, and lead them to do in- 
justice to their fellow-man, binding him down to slavery. 
Ah ! the chains of human bondage ! They should make 
every one to blush and hang his head. Mournful is it that 
they should countenance the Sabbath day, and then, to- 
morrow, recognize a system by which their fellow-men are 
sold at the auction-block to the highest bidder. We should 
bear our testimony against the nefarious claim of the right 
to property in man ; and the worst of this is, that we 
should hear this institution claimed as sanctioned by the 
Bible. It is the grossest perversion of the Bible, and 
yet many ministers have thus turned over its pages un- 
worthily, to find testimonies in favor of slavery. " Wo 
unto him that useth his neighbor's service without wages, 
and giveth him not for his work." This is what we should 
quote. And we are all guilty of the blood of our brother. 
The crime is national. We are all involved in it ; and 
how can we go forth and profess to believe the faith of 
the Son of God, with all these great wrongs and evils 
clinging to us, and we upholding them ? Have we noth- 
ing to do with it ? Every one has a responsibility in it. 



We are called to bear our testimony against sin, of what- 
ever form, in whatever way presented. And how are we 
doing it ? By partaking of the fruits of the slave's toil. 
Our garments are all stained with the blood of the slave. 
Let us, then, be clean-handed. Seek to be so ; and if we 
find the monstrous evil so interwoven with what we have 
to do, politically, commercially, by manufacturing inter- 
ests, by our domestic relations, then so much the more 
need is there for our laboring. Every church in the earth 
should be roused ; every people, every profession and in- 
terest. We find democratic, republican America clinging 
to slavery ; and it will be found the last stronghold of sin 
in the civilized world. " He that doeth truth cometh to 
the light; " but we have rejected the light of Christ. We 
are told that the Lord, in his own time, is going to put an 
end to this thing. " Break ye the bands of wickedness ; " 
" Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the in- 
habitants thereof." And because ye have not done so, ye 
shall fall victims to the plagues that are around you. Here 
is where we need faith, to know that we must reap the re- 
ward of our doings. 

I have nothing to do with preaching to you about what 
we shall be hereafter. We even now, by our obedience, 
come unto that kingdom which is righteousness, peace, and 
joy in the Holy Spirit. We know something of an inher- 
itance into that higher life where there is that communion 
with the Father, so that we can understand, as far as is 
given us to understand, that we may elevate ourselves above 
that which is mortal to that which is immortal. 

We need, therefore, this faith, which will make us believe 
and know that if we do the wrong, we must pay the pen- 
alty for the wrong that we are doing ; for there is no re- 
spect of persons with God. He " rewardeth every man 
according to his works," and according to the fruits of his 
doings. God's laws are eternal, and I wish there were 
more conscientious believers in the immutable laws of God. 



When such a man as George Combe comes forth, teaching 
the everlasting laws of truth to the children of men, he is 
called a mere materialist. I would not exchange the true 
test for all the theology that ever existed. All the theolog- 
ical assemblies and gatherings united could not give such 
benefit to the world as the truths and writings of George 
Combe, and others who have a profound veneration for the 
laws of God. 

It is impossible to hold any nation in slavery when their 
minds shall be enlightened sufficiently to appreciate the 
blessings of liberty. When the sacred principles of truth 
come to be evolved to the understandings of the children of 
men, how will all your false theologies sink before them ! 
The rightful test, then, of the Christian character will be 
peace, and love, and justice, and a claim of greater equal- 
ity among men. There will no longer be the lordly heel 
of a government trampling upon the children of men — no 
longer a high-bred aristocracy, exercising their exclusive- 
ness — no longer an aspiring priesthood, bringing all under 
its spiritual domination. It is time these things were un- 
derstood ; time that we should show how simple the relig- 
ion of Jesus is. This was the highest theology uttered by 
Jesus : " By their fruits ye shall know them." The good 
man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth 
that which is good ; and the evil bringeth forth that which 
is evil. The soil must be good, and the seed received must 
be cared for, so that it may produce its own. And what 
will it produce ? Ah, what will it not produce, my young 
friends ? Overlook not the truth of God. There is noth- 
ing that requires that ye should underrate your natural 
powers. Let them grow with your growth and become 
strengthened, and you will be made advocates of the right. 

This is really a notable age, and we have to hail it that 
we have not to wait for a far-distant day for the kingdom 
of God to come. There is an advancement, and its influ- 
ence is felt so much that the minister begins to be ashamed 



to turn over the leaves of the Bible to prove the wrong, 
rather than to find therein advocacy of the right. The 
young people ever hear truth gladly ; in their hearts there 
is an instinctive revolting from wrong. Did not the love 
of power abide to such an extent among us, there would 
be an instinctive revolt against slavery and wrong doing. 
Do justice to the colored man. Do away with your in- 
fernal prejudices; they are infernal. This impure spirit, 
this wrong that ye indulge in, is not from above ; it is 
earthly, sensual, devilish. A grave charge rests upon you 
who countenance the wickedness of American slavery. 

Public sentiment is changing. What though the polit- 
ical horizon may lower, believe me, the time is near, — the 
kingdom of God, of justice and mercy, is entering, that 
will be for the salvation of the slave. Believe me, that the 
labors of Beecher, Chapin, Furness, Garrison, and many 
other advocates of the right and true of our day, preceded 
by those of Hicks, Clarkson, Wilberforce, and their con- 
federates of former days, have not been in vain. God 
ever blesses the rightful laborer. " In the morning sow 
thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand ; for 
thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or 
that, or whether they shall both be alike good." So, hav- 
ing thus gone forth, we see now how it is renovating, how 
it is purifying the Church from its corruptions. 

The temperance movement is likewise prospering. It 
has given evidence of great advancement in this day. War, 
too, is falling from its original foothold in the earth. There 
is greater delight manifested in right doing. The power 
of moral-suasion is becoming better understood. These are 
good indications, and, with many others, they point to a 
happier and better state of things, the fruits of the ush- 
ering in of the great and glorious gospel, that which is 
to level distinctions, cause the highways to be strength- 
ened, and institute equality among men. The day is com- 
ing ; " the kingdom of God is at hand." 



The people flock more to hear moral discourses than to 
hear the preaching from the pulpit. This would not be the 
case were the preaching of the pulpit like that of Jesus. 
There is a quick understanding in the fear of the Lord 
among the people, and I will trust the people. I have con- 
fidence in their intuitive sense of the right, of the good. 
It is this great heart of the people we are to preach unto, 
to proclaim liberty and truth, justice and right unto ; and 
let it be done. 

The immediate teaching of God's holy spirit, inspiring 
love for the brethren, inspiring a desire for the promotion 
of good, is your mission. Oh, it is your heavenly call ; 
obey it, and look net for anything marvelous. Obey it, my 
young friends ! Come ye unto the harvest, and labor truly. 
There is need to labor in a world lying in evil. There is 
need of preachers against the excesses of the age. There 
is need of preachers against the existing monopolies and 
banking institutions, by which the rich are made richer, and 
the poor poorer. Thou, O man of God, flee these things, 
and follow that which is right ! It is contrary to the spirit 
of this Republic that any should be so rich. Let this blessed 
Christian equality prevail. Let us have a Republic that 
shall be marked by Christian principles ; and by Christian, 
I mean universally right principles. These are eternal ; 
divine in their origin, and eternal in their nature. Let us 
have faith in these, and believe that the " kingdom of God 
is within us." Christianity will not have performed its 
office in the earth, until the believers have learned to re- 
spect rights and privileges, by a toleration without limit, 
a faith without contention. That faith will fill the heart 
with holy joy. Thanksgiving will come up from such a 
heart, and there will be an entering into the joy of the 
Lord, acknowledging that He is good; that His mercy 
is everlasting ; and that His truth endureth through all 




Delivered at Bristol, Pa., 6th Mo. 6th, 1860. 

" Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach 
to any people." 

It appears to have been a great comfort to one of old, 
that he could say, " I have preached righteousness in the 
great congregation ; lo, I have not refrained my lips, O 
Lord, thou knowest ; " and it is interesting to learn among 
these declarations of the ancient prophets, that there 
seemed to be but one standard of goodness and truth. 
The Scriptures derive advantage from the fact that we find 
therein so uniform a testimony to the right ; that is, among 
those who are not bound by sect, or devoted to forms and 
ceremonies. " Your new moons and appointed feasts, your 
Sabbaths, even the solemn meeting," were classed as abom- 
inations, and for the reason that they executed not judg- 
ment and justice and mercy in the land. The injunction 
was " Learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the op- 
pressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." If 
they put away their iniquities, and did that which was 
right, then they should find acceptance. This is the testi- 
mony from age to age, as we find it recorded ; and it is 
time we should discriminate between those scriptures that 
conflict with righteous principles, and such as emanate 
from a spiritual understanding of the requirements of truth. 
These requisitions of the holy spirit in the mind of man 
have been the same in all ages, and it needs no learned 
disquisitions to lead men to understand them. The people 
know the truth. The time has come when it is not needed 
that man should teach his brother, saying, " Know the 
Lord." It is this assurance that all men understand the 
truth and the right, — justice, mercy, love, which inspire 
confidence that we may speak so as to meet a response in 
the hearts of the hearers ; and the more we appeal to the 
inner consciousness and perception of truth as received by 



intuition, by divine instinct in the soul, and not through 
forms, ceremonies, and dogmas, the more will there be 
amendment in the conduct of life. Our appeals would be 
more effectual, were religion stripped of the dark theolo- 
gies that encumber it, and its operations will prove more 
availing when presented to the hearers and to the thinkers 
free from the gloomy dogmas of sects. 

The true gospel is not identical with any scheme or theo- 
logical plan of salvation, however plausibly such a scheme 
may be drawn from isolated passages of Scripture, ingen- 
iously woven ; it is through the intelligence of the age, the 
progress of civilization, and individual thinking, that the 
right of judgment has been so far attained, that there is 
great daring of thought, of belief and expression, and much 
shortening of the creeds. A great deal that was demoral- 
izing in its tendency has been separated from them. Still, 
what remains is so tenaciously held as the only touchstone 
of religious character, that there is a proportionate lessen- 
ing of the effect of sound morals, and a lowering of the 
true standard. While we should feel a largeness of heart 
towards all religious denominations, at the same time, if we 
are true to God and the divine principle of his blessed Son, 
we must ever hold up the blessing to the merciful, the pure, 
the upright ; regarding honesty, goodness, every-day works 
of usefulness and love, as paramount to all the peace and 
enjoyment that would follow an adherence to any of the 
abstract propositions of faith, that are held as the touch- 
stone of sound Christianity. We must be as Jesus was, a 
non-conformist. That peace which " passeth understand- 
ing " comes from obedience to truth, not to sect, for great 
hardness of heart often proceeds from this ; it leads not to 
love, but to persecution and bitterness. Unless the faith 
of the sectarian is worked by a love, not of its own sect 
merely, but such as can go out beyond its own inclosure, 
to gather in the outcast and the oppressed, it is not efficient 
conversion. The apostle Paul believed he was acting in 



good conscience when he was a great persecutor, and no 
doubt many of the persecutors that perform their vile acts 
towards men, believe they are doing God's service ; but 
their acts are wicked nevertheless. Many go so far as to 
say that if a man does what he believes to be right, he is 
exempt from guilt. This is a mistake. We have far too 
much charity for any wrong-doer. What is wrong in itself, 
is wrong for any one to do. The truth must be spoken, 
and the dark conscience enlightened. 

Many persons have become so inured to slavery as not 
to discern its sinfulness. It has been said that " no one in 
his inmost heart ever believed slavery to be right." We 
know there is this instinct in man, else it would never have 
been proclaimed that all men are born equal, and endowed 
by their Creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness. Many have so seared their 
minds that the light of the glorious gospel, which is the 
image of God, does not and cannot shine in upon them. 
Hence it is that in this day there should be an earnestness 
in advocating right doing. The people should be so en- 
lightened as to distinguish between mere creeds and forms, 
and practical goodness. 

It is irrational to deny the sinfulness of slavery. " Wo 
unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and 
his chambers by wrong ; that useth his neighbor's service 
without wages, and giveth him not for his work." " Wo 
unto those who are partakers of other men's sins." Wo 
unto them that will not "cry aloud, spare not, lift up the 
voice like a trumpet, and show the people their transgres- 
sions." These old sayings show that the requirements of 
truth are the same in all ages, — to do right, to give free- 
dom to the oppressed, the wronged, and the suffering. 
Those who have appealed in behalf of these, have not ap- 
pealed in vain. Progress attends the work; but nothing 
can be effected by sitting still, and keeping aloof from the 
arena of activity ; it is by labor, by many crosses, many 



sacrifices, — brother giving up brother unto death, and 
even submitting to martyrdom, — that beneficent results are 
accomplished. And what do we ask now ? That slavery 
shall be held up in every congregation, and before all sects, 
as a greater sin than erroneous thinking ; a greater sin 
than Sabbath breaking. If any of you are seen on Sab- 
bath day with your thimble on, performing some piece of 
needlework, the feelings of your neighbors are shocked 
on beholding the sight ; and yet these very people may be 
indifferent to great sins, regarding them with comparative 
unconcern, and even complacency. This is what I mean 
in saying that the standard of religious observances is 
placed higher than the standard of goodness, of upright- 
ness, and of human freedom. To some, the sin of slave- 
holding is not so horrifying as certain deviations from es- 
tablished observances. While the sticklers for these gather 
together and exhibit great marks of piety, in some instances 
they are guilty of small acts of unkindness, of meanness 
and oppression towards their neighbors. It is not enough 
to be generous, and give alms ; the enlarged soul, the true 
philanthropist, is compelled by Christian principle to look 
beyond bestowing the scanty pittance to the mere beggar 
of the day, to the duty of considering the causes and 
sources of poverty. We must consider how much we have 
done towards causing it. 

The feeling of opposition to war, that has been growing 
in the minds of men, is not confined to the Society of 
Friends ; people of various denominations have examined 
this subject, and presented it in its true light. Faith in 
the efficacy of moral influences has increased, and the pos- 
sibility of settling disputes without recourse to arms is be- 
ing regarded more and more favorably. Still, the spirit 
of war exists, and it is surprising that those who look up to 
the Son and adore his sacred name should forget that the 
anthem of his advent upon the earth was " Peace on earth, 
and good will to men." Is this reformation going on ? We 



should see how far we are attending to the practices by 
which nations become demoralized. In looking abroad we 
discover a revival of the brutal spirit of barbarous ages, to 
determine what may be done by single combat ; and in our 
own land we find repetitions of these wicked experiments. 
Are those who disapprove of these things careful to use 
their influence in the family circle with their children, that 
they may not be carried away by this brutal spirit ? Mind 
acting upon mind is of much greater power than brute 
force contending against brute force. We have been in the 
dark long enough. The likeness we bear to Jesus is more 
essential than our notions of him. 

The temperance reformation has accomplished almost 
a revolution in our age, but the movement seems now to 
be somewhat retarded by running too much into political 
and masonic channels. Much may be effected by the 
young men and the young women. How commendable 
that benevolence which lifts the poor victim from the 
gutter of degradation, to place him on the rock of temper- 
ance, and put a song of total-abstinence in his mouth. 
This oft-times leads to something higher. I desire that all 
may be first pure, then actively engaged ; that all, in their 
various religious denominations, and those not belonging to 
any, may see what their duty is, and neither shun nor dis- 
regard it. Let not those be forgotten that are beyond the 
reach of religious inclosures, for they, the lowly and the 
outcast, need our aid. Especial attention should ever be 
paid to that which will exalt the condition of those that are 
downcast. If we perform our whole duty, we shall give 
heed to these things, in the spirit of a broad, all-embracing 
philanthropy, the tendency of which is to equalize society. 
We should act the part of true philosophers. Some are 
afraid to hear the word " philosophy " in connection with 
Christianity. But there is a divine philosophy which it 
should be our aim to reach, and when we have attained to 
this, we shall see a beautiful equality around us. 



The efforts that are making for the elevation of woman, 
the enlargement of her mind, the cultivation of her reason- 
ing powers, and various ameliorating influences are prepar- 
ing her to occupy a higher position than she has hitherto 
filled. She must come to judge within herself what is 
right, and absolve herself from that sectarian rule which 
sets a limit to the divinity within her. Whatever is a 
barrier to the development of her inherent, God - given 
powers, and to the improvement of her standing and char- 
acter, whether it be ecclesiastical law or civil law, must be 
met and opposed. It is of more moment that she should 
be true and faithful to herself than to her sect. 

The more we are disposed to enter this reforming theatre 
of the world, the greater will be the promise of improve- 
ment in the social system, and the nearer the approach to 
the true end of human existence. There is much to be 
done. If we have entire faith in the efficiency of right 
doing, we shall find strength for it. What is needed is 
confidence in the possibility of coming into the kingdom 
now. A great deal of time and effort has been spent in 
the sphere of poetic fancy, picturing the glory and joy of a 
kingdom hereafter ; but what is chiefly required of us is to 
come into the divine government now — and to be pure 
even as God is pure. 

So far from preaching up human depravity, my practice 
is to advocate native goodness. It was a beautiful emblem 
that Jesus held up as an appropriate illustration of the 
heavenly condition — the little child. Had we faith in 
little children, treating them aright, giving them a guarded 
education, we might see in the next generation far greater 
purity than is found at present. 

It is essential that we have faith in uprightness, in jus- 
tice, love, and truth, for these are among the highest evi- 
dences of true Christianity. I care not for charges of 
verbal infidelity ; the infidelity I should dread, is to be 
faithless to the right, to moral principle, to the divine 



impulses of the soul, to a confidence in the possible reali- 
zation of the millennium now. We know what we are at 
present; if we are doing right, acting in accordance with 
sacred principles, we all know how peaceful and happy we 
are. And we know how we are brought into torment by 
violating the right. We should have assurance that if we 
resolve to do right, we can do it. 

All we can do, one for another, is to bring each to 
know the light of truth in the soul. It is pure, holy, un- 
mistakable, and no ignis fatuus. Feeling and believing 
this, I would call you all to it. And we should come to 
recognize the great principles of justice, humanity, and 
kindness, holiness in all its parts, in the full belief that the 
establishing of the dominion of these in the earth is the 
divine purpose of the Eternal, in sending this essence, or, 
as some term it, in sending His Son into the world. What x 
I mean by the " Son of God " is that divine word which 
is quick and powerful, which is a discerner of the thoughts 
and intents of the heart ; and if any shall speak of it as the 
" Christ of God," let them so speak, and lay no stumbling- 
block in a brother's way ; but have faith in it, never fear- 
ing ; it will be sufficient for its own work. So believing, 
I can commend you, my friends, to God, and to the word 
of His grace, as sufficient to give an inheritance to those 
that are sanctified ; and when we have finished our works 
here on earth, and are about to be removed from before the 
eyes of men, I doubt not but there will be a blessed earnest 
of that which shall appear hereafter, whatever it may be — 
that there will be an entrance into that which is glorious 
and eternal. 

" To the Christ that was never crucified ; to the Christ 
that was never slain ; to the Christ that cannot die, I com- 
mend you with my own soul." 1 

1 Quoted from Elias Hicks. 



Delivered Eleventh Month Wth, 1866. 

" The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep 
silence before Him." Those who can thus, in silence, feel 
after and find Him who is not far from every one of us, — 
for, as saith the apostle, " in Him we live, and move, and 
have our being," — those need not make the harmony of 
sweet sounds to attune the heart to praise, melody, and 
thanksgiving; but, in this nearness of approach unto Him, 
they can feel with the Psalmist, that they love His law, and 
it is their meditation both day and night. Now, this is a 
reality : it is no fancied mount of transfiguration, but it is 
an experience in which the desire is often felt : " Lord, 
evermore give us this bread." The worship in spirit and 
in truth is the worship that is called for at our hands. It 
is a great privilege we have, it is true, to enter His courts 
with thanksgiving, and into His gates with praise, to ac- 
knowledge that the Lord is good, His mercy everlasting, 
and His truth enduring to all generations. But the wor- 
ship which is required of us is the active use of all our 
God-given powers, all our faculties, our intellectual as well 
as our nobler spiritual gifts. All these consecrated to God, 
to truth, to righteousness, to humanity, and acts in accord- 
ance with such consecration, constitute the worship which 
is needed, and very different from mere Sunday worship 
paid in oral prayer, in sacred song, or in silent bowing of 
the head. We are too apt to confound these means to an 
end, legitimate, acceptable, noble as they are, with the end 
itself. We are too apt to mistake Sabbath observances 
and Sunday worship for that which the Father is seeking 
from us all — for that obedience which is called for. 

We have just heard the inquiry made (by a preceding 
speaker) as to what must be the state of mind " in the 
trying hour." I asked myself, What is that trying hour ? 



Many put it off, supposing it to be when the head is laid 
upon the pillow of death, perhaps, or to a fancied day of 
judgment. But we need to understand " the trying hour" 
to be every hour when our consciences are awakened to a 
sense of our situation — a sense of our unworthiness, it 
may be, needing repentance of sins, or with present duties 
imposed upon us, when the trying hour is the struggle 
whether we shall do our duty. Some men's sins, the apos- 
tle says, go before-hand to judgment, and some they follow 
after. Many understand this as going before death and 
after death, but it seems to me that it is before they are 
committed ; when we are tempted, we are brought to judg- 
ment, to consideration, to reflection, as to how far we shall 
yield or give up, or come to a right decision as to our 
course of life. 

We need to bring our experience, our religious faith, 
duties, and worship more down (or up, I would say) to our 
every-day life, more to our real existence. We need to 
pray for strength ; for, the great efficacy of prayer is not 
to pray for partial favors, which would be, perhaps, in vio- 
lation of the very laws we have transgressed, and which 
bring upon us their proper penalty ; not to pray for special 
favors which we have no right to ask, but to pray that 
strength may be given us to do what is required of us, to 
stand fast, to have a conscience void of offense toward God 
and toward man. We may not have sins to repent of when 
brought together, if we are every day desirous to be found 
thus doing our duty, and invoking the Divine Power to aid 
us in this great desire of our hearts. We know we are 
human, we feel our weaknesses, and we feel the spirit of 
thanksgiving and praise for all His mercies, which are new 
every morning. When we are thus brought together, and 
can sit down, and can feel one with another, and enter into 
our own hearts' communion, and know His divine presence, 
notwithstanding our infirmities, our human weaknesses, — 
these are profitable considerations for us individually. But 



I often feel that we have need to press on the considera- 
tion of the people the great duties of life, which belong 
to them, collectively, and which, as individuals, we are bound 
to exert ourselves to promote, in order that the kingdom 
of God may be, in reality, near at hand, nigh even at the 
doors. There is great instruction in the records of the 
past in finding how the great seers, the anointed of God, 
in every age, were always looking for a higher and better 
state of things, a kind of millennium, and often prophesying 
that this state should come, when peace should reign, when 
the government of the Divine and the Eternal should be 
extended from sea to sea, and from the rivers unto the ends 
of the earth ; and this we find described in the Scriptures 
in various ways ; and each writer in his turn has called 
upon the people around to do their part to bring in this 
kingdom — to hasten the. time when, in the figurative lan- 
guage of Scripture, the lion and the lamb shall lie down 
together, when all violence shall cease, all wars, all injuries 
one of another, when there shall be regard one for another 
in every way, when loving our neighbor as ourselves shall 
be more prevalent in the earth. And this millennium was 
not completed at the advent of the Messiah to the Jews : 
it seemed barely begun in the darkness in which he found 
them, borne down by unmeaning ceremonies, useless forms 
and sacrifices, which were never called for from on high, 
but which were only suited or adapted by Moses and others 
to the weakness and low condition of the people with 
whom they dwelt and labored. In this dark state the 
great truths uttered by Jesus often seemed to fall to the 
ground ; and he lamented over them : " Are ye yet with- 
out understanding ? " " Shall the Son of Man, when he 
cometh, find faith in the earth ? " Some of these mourn- 
ful interrogatories show how he deplored the condition of 
things which he found among his own people ; and yet 
he was ever hopeful of a better state of things, as was his 
forerunner : " He that cometh after me, is mightier than 



I ; he shall baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire." 

And so Jesus, using terms figurative of the truth, in his 
language, said, " The bread that I give you, cometh down 
from Heaven ; if ye eat my flesh (that is, take the truth 
which I proclaim to you, receive the word which is thus 
spoken to you) ye shall have everlasting life ; for, my flesh 
and my blood are meat and drink indeed." He found that 
they were very outward in their reception, their under- 
standing of it, accustomed as they were to symbols, figu- 
rative language: "Are ye yet without understanding?" 
" Know ye not that the flesh profiteth nothing ? " " The 
words which I speak unto you, they are spirit and life. 
Let him that is athirst come unto me and drink." What 
did it mean ? I know that theology makes this all out- 
ward, all suited to an outward atonement, to a vicarious 
sacrifice, to the general orthodoxical idea of salvation by 

I think, however, the spiritually-minded, the clear, in- 
telligent reader and thinker, may understand this in a far 
wider sense, and it is time that this theological gospel of 
despair had passed away. Even the disciples, outward and 
ignorant as they were, said : " Thus spake he of the spirit 
which they who believe in him shall receive." And so 
with the apostles : Jesus called them continually to the 
freedom which the truth would give — the liberty which 
was of God, and which was to be bestowed by obedience, 
by doing right, by doing the will of the Father ; and in 
this way, his gospel was indeed "glad tidings of great joy 
unto all people." Gloomy theology makes it not so. The 
bigoted, the intolerant converts to this theology, make it 
any other than " glad tidings of great joy unto all people." 

The gloomy ascetic, whether Quaker or Catholic, makes 
it revolting and repulsive to the young. Therefore, if 
we attempt to preach the religion of Jesus, salvation by 
Christ, we have need to understand it better, or we shall 
never know what these "glad tidings of great joy" really 



mean. We must learn to exhibit by our very counte- 
nances that we have attained to this state. 

True religion makes not men gloomy. Penances, asceti- 
cism, sacrifices, "daily crosses" — all belong to a more 
gloomy religion than that of the benign and beautiful spirit 
of Jesus. (The term " daily cross " occurs only once in 
the New Testament — in the Bible, I believe.) We know 
well that there are sacrifices to make in our life, in the 
pursuit of our duty, the attempt to uplift the lowly, to 
spread the gospel of glad tidings. We know that the right 
hand and the right eye (to use again a figure of speech) 
have to be parted with at times ; but always we feel the 
conviction that we enter into life thereby and its rich expe- 

It was no new doctrine that Jesus preached. When 
asked what it was he preached, he declared that it was not 
new. " The peace that passeth understanding " had long 
before been spoken of. Even the disposition to return 
good for evil had been recommended long before his day. 
We make a great mistake when we date the commence- 
ment of true religion eighteen hundred years ago. There 
have been evidences of it in every age ; and even now in 
all the nations under the sun, in a form more gross or re- 
fined, according to the circumstances of the times, of the 
age, of the nations, we find recognitions of the Divine and 
the Eternal, the Creator of us all, and in some form, cere- 
mony or worship offered unto Him. The native Indians 
of our forests have their worship; and having witnessed 
some of their strawberry festivals and dances, and relig- 
ious operations, I have thought that there was, perhaps, 
as much reasonableness and rational worship therein as in 
passing around the little bread and wine ; or, I might name, 
perhaps, some of the peculiarities of our own people, for all 
sects, all denominations have their tendency to worship in 
the letter rather than in the spirit — seeking an outward 
rather than an inward salvation. 



The apostolic in every age, the sent-of-the- Father, are 
ever calling for a higher righteousness, a better develop- 
ment of the human race, a more earnest effort to equalize 
the condition of men. And now, when the call is, " Be- 
hold the kingdom of God is at hand," the present unequal 
condition in Christendom, these vast distinctions that exist 
in Europe, even in England, between the rich and the 
poor, are a disgrace to our profession of Christianity. The 
lordly aristocracy, the kingly government, the aspiring 
priesthood there, and our own tenement houses here — all 
these things go to show how little we have really ad- 
vanced ; and yet, with other views of the subject, how 
much, how great is the progress. I more frequently have 
cause to rejoice in the evidences of the progress of real 
Christianity, real truth, righteousness, and goodness, than 
to be pained by evidences of anything like a retrograde 
movement. I never look back to the past as the Golden 
Age, but always forward to it, as coming ; and I really be- 
lieve it to be nigh, even at the door, though not perhaps 
by man's calculation. And, indeed, one (may I say apos- 
tle ?) of our own day, our great and good Elias Hicks, 
dared not leave much record of his own experience and 
religious views, because he saw that generations to come 
must be in advance of him, must go on unto perfection, 
must see and act further than he had done — that difficul- 
ties would be overcome, that the trammels of superstition 
and tradition would be removed ; but not entirely, he said, 
for wars would never cease among men until the profes- 
sors of Christianity had learned to read the Bible more 
intelligently, more as they would other books, and come 
to a right judgment as regards the acts there required. 
Something on this wise he has left ; and I am glad he has ; 
because there is a tendency, having begun well, and run 
well for a time, to suffer ourselves to be hindered from 
obeying the truth, and to go back again to the weak and 
beggarly elements of theology. Hence I am glad that 



there is enough left for some of us, the older ones, to recur 
to as being the faith for which we struggled thirty years 
ago, and by which we conquered, as I believe. I want that 
we should hold fast to this inward guidance, this inward 
teaching, without wavering. 

Another of the seers of our age (and I like sometimes 
to quote those not of our own household), an anointed one, 
declared : " Mighty powers are at work in the world, and 
who shall stay them ? God's word has gone forth, and it 
shall not return unto him void. A new comprehension of 
the Christian spirit, a new reverence for humanity, a new 
feeling of brotherhood, and of all men's relation to the 
common Father. This is among the signs of our times." 
This was declared before the late struggle, and the late 
events for the removal of the bonds of slavery from mil- 
lions of our fellow-beings. We see that this reverence 
for humanity has done its work in so far, and we can be- 
lieve that it is going on if we are faithful ; if we can un- 
derstand the Christian spirit and act it out, we shall be 
instrumental in hastening the day when the kingdoms of 
this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his 
Christ. The day may be hastened ; it is man's instrumen- 
tality that is needed. We acknowledge a mighty power 
far above all human effort, and indeed independent, as I 
regard it, of the battle-field, that has brought about the 
marvelous work and wonder of our day ; but it was not 
without many having to make sacrifices, to suffer their 
names to be cast out as evil, and having to go forth as with 
their staff in their hands through this Jordan, before they 
could reach the promised land. How should one have 
faced a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, had 
not the Lord been on the side of justice, mercy, and truth ? 
This has been manifested, and in so many ways that I now 
have great hope that the time will not be long before the 
great barbarism of war will be placed in its true light be- 
fore the people, and they will easily learn that where the 



disposition exists to resort to means for the redress of 
grievances (either national or individual), other than phys- 
ical force, the way will be found. The prayer we need 
is for strength to our feeble, human efforts ; and it is 
granted, blessed be His name : " Whatsoever ye ask be- 
lieving, ye shall receive." Have faith, then. If we could 
only receive this idea aright, not applying it to outward 
events, but to inward confidence in the sufficiency of the 
mighty power of God, the sufficiency of the attributes 
with which we are furnished ; if we will only carry them 
to Him and do His work, and not look to man for praise, 
for help ; if we will come out of our sectarian inclosure, 
and bind not ourselves to any theories or speculations, but 
go on in fullness of faith, — the desired end will be truly 

The great historian, probably the greatest historian in 
our day, Buckle, has very erroneously, it seems to me, at- 
tributed the advancement of the world so far in civilization 
more to the intellectual development of man than to his 
spiritual and moral growth and advancement. It seems to 
me that he mistook the mere sectarian effort of days past 
(which, he said, died out in a generation and produced no 
great effect upon the world,) for the moral effort at human 
progress. Let us see what has really been the progress 
since the great law of love, of right, of regard to man, was 
proclaimed clearly and extensively by Jesus of Nazareth. 
Let us see what has been the progress since that time, de- 
spite the checks given by the organization of the sects ; 
that is, by erroneous theories held by those sects. Not- 
withstanding all these, there has been such progress in 
human society, that the writers of the present day may 
well claim that there is a better understanding of God 
dwelling with man, the Holy Spirit being with us, and of 
man's regard to his fellow-being. The efforts that are 
made for education, for improvement, morality, an$ the 
great numbers in all parts of Christendom, in various parts 



of the world, enlisted in behalf of improving the condition 
of society — all go to disprove the idea, which I fear, when 
put forth by such a historian, would have an undue influ- 
ence, and warp the judgment of many of his readers, and 
lead to a lighter estimate of moral effort than really be- 
longs to it. He asked, what new law since the days of 
Jesus of Nazareth ? We might as well ask, what new law 
in science. There is no new law in truth : we want no new 
law. It is no new doctrine which I preach, said Jesus. 
But we want a better carrying out of the law, a better life, 
a better recognition of the Divine, and of the great duties 
of life springing from the right worship of the Divine and 
the Eternal. I allude to this, because I know that when a 
writer becomes popular we are apt to receive his say-so 
without much criticism or instruction ; and I believe we 
have intelligence, judgment, and capacity to read and un- 
derstand. I would not disparage — far be it from me — 
any intellectual advancement. We are as responsible for 
our intellectual as for the highest gifts of God's holy spirit 
to the soul : " First that which is natural, afterwards that 
which is spiritual." It is theology, not the Scriptures, that 
has degraded the natural : the intelligent reading of the 
Scriptures will not disparage man. A gloomy theology 
does this ; it has lowered the estimate of good works, and 
dethroned reason so far that it is almost dangerous to 
hold up reason to its rightful place, lest atheism should be 
charged. But, my friends, we are responsible for our rea- 
son and its right cultivation; and I am glad to perceive 
that the people are not afraid to think, and that skepticism 
has become a religious duty — skepticism as to the schemes 
of salvation, the plans of redemption, that are abounding in 
the religious world ; that this kind of doubt and unbelief 
are coming to be a real belief; and that a better theology 
will follow — has followed. The old Calvinistic scheme is 
very much given up. The Thirty-nine Articles are called 
in question by their own subscribers, and the formulas of 



religion are changing : less and less value is set on ceremo- 
nies. We find that which, generations ago, was the holy 
eucharist, is now the simple memorial bread and wine : a 
very simple thing it has become. Even with this idea, 
many, I believe, if they were faithful, would find that they 
go to the table unworthily, and would feel bound to with- 
draw from it. The fear of man proves a snare to many ; 
and we do not make as much progress as we should by rea- 
son of this fear of sect, of man, of non-conformity. We 
need non-conformity in our age, and I believe it will come ; 
as heterodoxy has come, as heresy has come, so I believe 
there will be non-conformity enough to set a right estimate, 
and no more than a just estimate, upon days, and times, 
and places of worship. 

These subjects occupied my mind in the few moments 
that we were sitting together this morning, and I felt too, 
that we were gathered, as our brother expressed it, with an 
idea and feeling of worship which would perhaps supersede 
all discourse of common things of life, and would raise the 
mind to an elevation where we might be brought together 
in spirit, and the prayer in spirit individually reach the 
Father of spirits, who would be found to be very near 
us — not a God far off, but a God near at hand ; and that 
his holy attributes of love, justice, right, and truth would 
be manifested in us, so that we should be drawn together 
as heart to heart, and, with the heart, the language of 
praise and thanksgiving might ascend. I trust even now 
it will be found that these every-day duties of life pre- 
sented to us, and this great worship of obedience in com- 
mon things, in regard to the poor and the lowly, and in all 
the relations of society, will not make us less prayerful ; 
and that there will be such obedience and faithfulness even 
among the young that they also will come into this King- 
dom, in their very youth, and find it all beautiful within. 
My young friends, if you live in simplicity and lowliness, 
and are faithful in the little duties presented to you, ye 



shall see greater things than these ; great will be your 
blessing ; great will be your peace ; and when that pe